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Do Multinational Enterprises Relocate Employment to Low Wage Regions? Evidence from European Multinationals


  • Konings, Jozef

    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; CEPR, UK; IZA, Bonn; WDI, Michigan Ann Arbor)

  • Murphy, Alan

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)


This paper analyses the behaviour of European multinational enterprises. To this end we use a unique firm level panel data set of more than 1,000 European multinational parent enterprises and their affiliates. The affiliates are located either in the European Union (North, South), Central and Eastern Europe or both. We find for parent firms operating in the manufacturing sector that the labour cost elasticity of parent employment with respect to North EU affiliates’ labour costs is positive and statistically significant, ranging from 0.03 to 0.08, depending on the specification considered. This implies employment substitution between parents and their North EU based affiliates. This substitution effect becomes stronger when affiliates are operating in a different sector than their parent. However, we find no evidence of substitution effects between parent employment and its affiliates that are located in low wage regions in the EU and in Central and Eastern Europe. Furthermore, substitution effects are absent for firms operating in the non-manufacturing sector. Our results suggest that on average the competition from low wage countries in Central and eastern Europe and the South of the EU did not contribute to a relocation of domestic jobs to these low wage regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Konings, Jozef & Murphy, Alan, 2005. "Do Multinational Enterprises Relocate Employment to Low Wage Regions? Evidence from European Multinationals," Research Technical Papers 1/RT/05, Central Bank of Ireland.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbi:wpaper:1/rt/05

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand


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