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Wages and Foreign Ownership: A Comparative Study of Mexico, Venezuela and the United States

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  • Brian Aitken
  • Ann Harrison
  • Robert E. Lipsey

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between wages and foreign investment in Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States. Despite very different economic conditions and levels of development, we find one fact which is robust across all three countries: higher levels of foreign investment are associated with higher wages. In Mexico and Venezuela, foreign investment was associated with higher wages only for foreign-owned firms -- there is no evidence of wage spillovers leading to higher wages for domestic firms. In the United States there is evidence of wage spillovers. The lack of spillovers in Mexico and Venezuela is consistent with significant wage differentials between foreign and domestic enterprises. In the United States, wage differentials are smaller.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Aitken & Ann Harrison & Robert E. Lipsey, 1995. "Wages and Foreign Ownership: A Comparative Study of Mexico, Venezuela and the United States," NBER Working Papers 5102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5102
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aitken, Brian & Hanson, Gordon H. & Harrison, Ann E., 1997. "Spillovers, foreign investment, and export behavior," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 103-132, August.
    2. Robert E. Lipsey, 1994. "Foreign-Owned Firms and U.S. Wages," NBER Working Papers 4927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Romer, Paul, 1993. "Idea gaps and object gaps in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 543-573, December.
    4. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1993. "Making a Miracle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(2), pages 251-272, March.
    5. Kokko, Ari, 1994. "Technology, market characteristics, and spillovers," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 279-293, April.
    6. Caves, Richard E, 1974. "Multinational Firms, Competition, and Productivity in Host-Country Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 41(162), pages 176-193, May.
    7. Robert E. Lipsey & Birgitta Swedenborg, 1981. "Foreign Takeovers of Swedish Firms," NBER Working Papers 0641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Steven Globerman, 1979. "Foreign Direct Investment and `Spillover' Efficiency Benefits in Canadian Manufacturing Industries," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 12(1), pages 42-56, February.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1991. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 557-586.
    10. Haddad, Mona & Harrison, Ann, 1993. "Are there positive spillovers from direct foreign investment? : Evidence from panel data for Morocco," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 51-74, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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