Multinational Enterprises and Their Domestic Counterparts: Past Research, Current Issues and Future Directions
This paper reviews and summarises the results of selected empirical studies on performance gaps between multinational enterprises and their domestic counterparts. Performance gaps arise in such fields as productivity, profitability, wages, skills, factor intensity and growth. Of central interest is the question to what extent is foreign ownership an explanatory factor of performance gaps? Empirical evidence supports the existence of performance gaps between foreign and domestic firms, yet foreign ownership is a much less important explanatory factor than normally assumed. Structural factors like industry, size and multi-nationality per se are more important. It is argued that such results are broadly consistent with those derived in the literatures on ownership change, on foreign entry and on spillovers. The concluding section discusses the normative issue whether there is a case for investment promotion policies to discriminate between firms on the basis of performance gaps by ownership.
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