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Foreign Ownership and Skillbiased Technological Change

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  • Michael Koch
  • Marcel Smolka

Abstract

We conduct an empirical investigation into the effects of foreign ownership on worker skills using firm-level data from Spain. To control for endogeneity bias due to selection into foreign ownership, we combine a difference-in-differences approach with a propensity score weighting estimator. Our results provide novel evidence that foreign-acquired firms actively raise the skills of their workforce in response to the acquisition by hiring high-skilled workers and providing worker training. To pin down the mechanism, we exploit unique information on whether firms use their foreign parent in exporting to foreign markets. Our results suggest a fundamental role for market access through the foreign parent in explaining skill upgrading in foreign-acquired firms. We reveal substantial productivity gains within foreign-acquired firms and we show that these gains derive from a concurrent effort to raise worker skills and adopt more advanced technology, suggesting a skill bias in technological innovations. We develop a simple theoretical model of foreign ownership featuring technology-skill complementarities in production that can rationalize our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Koch & Marcel Smolka, 2018. "Foreign Ownership and Skillbiased Technological Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 7332, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7332
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    multinational enterprises; mergers and acquisitions; skill-biased technological; change; worker training; productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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