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Selection and Market Reallocation: Productivity Gains from Multinational Production

  • Laura Alfaro

    ()

    (Harvard Business School, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit)

  • Maggie X. Chen

    ()

    (George Washington University)

Assessing productivity gains from multinational production has been a vital topic of economic research and policy debate. Positive productivity gains are often attributed to productivity spillovers; however, an alternative, much less emphasized channel is selection and market reallocation whereby competition leads to factor reallocation both within and between domestic firms and exits of the least productive firms. We investigate the roles of these different mechanisms in determining aggregate productivity gains using a unifying framework that explores the mechanisms' distinct predictions on the distributions of domestic firms: Within-firm productivity improvement shifts the productivity distribution rightward while selection and market reallocation shifts the revenue and employment distributions leftward and raises left truncations. Using a rich cross-country firm panel dataset, we find significant evidence of both mechanisms and effects of competition in product, technology and labor space. However, selection and market reallocation account for the majority of aggregate productivity gains, suggesting that ignoring this channel could lead to substantial bias in understanding the nature of productivity gains from multinational production.

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Paper provided by Harvard Business School in its series Harvard Business School Working Papers with number 12-111.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision: Nov 2016
Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:12-111
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