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Do Multinationals Influence Labor Standards? A Close Look at US Outward FDI

Author

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  • Konstantin M. Wacker

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati

    (University of Heidelberg)

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of multinational corporations on labor standards. We argue that the previous literature has failed to distinguish the diff erent motives that encourage fi rms to become multinational. Therefore, we build a stylized model of segmented labor markets with equilibrium unemployment where parts of the labor force are willing to accept reductions in their labor standards to attract job-creating horizontal foreign direct investment. By disentangling US FDI data for 34 advanced host countries throughout the period 1997 to 2002 into vertically and horizontally motivated FDI, we show that this disaggregation provides much more signifi cant results. Concretely, we find a statistically signifi cant and economically considerable negative impact of horizontal US FDI on labor right practices in industrialized host countries by using a static OLS model and qualitatively similar results with dynamic GMM estimation. Our results do not imply that this e ffect leads to a decrease in welfare in the host economy but that in the welfare optimization process employment, income and job-quality serve as substitutes with an elasticity positively depending on equilibrium unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Konstantin M. Wacker & Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati, 2011. "Do Multinationals Influence Labor Standards? A Close Look at US Outward FDI," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 98, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:098
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wacker, Konstantin M., 2013. "On the measurement of foreign direct investment and its relationship to activities of multinational corporations," Working Paper Series 1614, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multinationals; FDI; Labor Rights; Labor Markets;

    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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