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

  • Jozef Konings
  • Alan Patrick Murphy

This paper analyzes the employment behavior of home multinational enterprises (MNEs) in Europe. 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 labor cost elasticity of parent employment with respect to North EU affiliates?labor 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 takes place in response to wage cost differentials between the parent and its North EU based affiliates. This substitution effect becomes stronger when affiliates are operating in a different sector than their parent firm. However, we find no evidence for such 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 parent firms operating in the nonmanufacturing 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.

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File URL: http://www.econ.kuleuven.be/licos/publications/dp/dp131.pdf
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Paper provided by LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven in its series LICOS Discussion Papers with number 13103.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:13103
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  1. Blomstrom, Magnus & Fors, Gunnar & Lipsey, Robert E, 1997. "Foreign Direct Investment and Employment: Home Country Experience in the United States and Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1787-97, November.
  2. Slaughter, Matthew J., 2000. "Production transfer within multinational enterprises and American wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 449-472, April.
  3. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Pfann, Gerard Antonie, 1996. "Adjustment Costs in Factor Demand," CEPR Discussion Papers 1371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 1998. "Multinational firms and the new trade theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 183-203, December.
  5. Braconier, Henrik & Ekholm, Karolina, 1999. "Swedish Multinationals and Competition from High- and Low-Wage Locations," Working Paper Series 523, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. Robert E. Lipsey, 1999. "Foreign Production by U.S. Firms and Parent Firm Employment," NBER Working Papers 7357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jacques Mairesse & Brigitte Dormont, 1985. "Labor and Investment Demand at the Firm Level: A Comparison of French, German and U.S. Manufacturing, 1970-79," NBER Working Papers 1554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  9. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
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