IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Multinational firms and heterogeneous labor


  • Larch, Mario
  • Lechthaler, Wolfgang


In the presence of increasing specialization of workers it becomes more and more difficult for firms to find the most suitable workers. In such an environment a multinational corporation has an advantage because it can exchange workers between plants in different countries. In this way it can draw on a larger labor market pool, reducing the mismatch of its workforce. This paper analyzes the consequences of this advantage for production, employment and, most prominently, wages. We are able to disentangle the effects of worker heterogeneity and firm heterogeneity on wages and show that the latter is important to explain why multinationals typically pay higher wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Larch, Mario & Lechthaler, Wolfgang, 2008. "Multinational firms and heterogeneous labor," Kiel Working Papers 1454, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:1454

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Amiti, Mary & Pissarides, Christopher A., 2005. "Trade and industrial location with heterogeneous labor," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 392-412, December.
    2. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 589-630, September.
    3. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, January.
    4. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan & Szeidl, Adam, 2006. "Optimal integration strategies for the multinational firm," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 216-238, September.
    5. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
    6. Hamilton, Jonathan & Thisse, Jacques-Francois & Zenou, Yves, 2000. "Wage Competition with Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 453-472, July.
    7. Andreea Cosnita, 2005. "Horizontal mergers in the circular city: a note," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 12(7), pages 1-10.
    8. Nikolaj Malchow-Møller & James R. Markusen & Bertel Schjerning, 2013. "Foreign Firms, Domestic Wages," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 292-325, April.
    9. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
    10. Robert C. Feenstra, 2000. "Introduction to "The Impact of International Trade on Wages"," NBER Chapters,in: The Impact of International Trade on Wages, pages 1-11 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ludema, Rodney D., 2002. "Increasing returns, multinationals and geography of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 329-358, March.
    12. Abowd, John M. & Freeman, Richard B. (ed.), 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226000954.
    13. John M. Abowd, 1991. "Appendix: The NBER Immigration, Trade, and Labor Markets Data Files," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 407-421 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Martins, Pedro S., 2004. "Do Foreign Firms Really Pay Higher Wages? Evidence from Different Estimators," IZA Discussion Papers 1388, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Robert C. Feenstra, 2000. "The Impact of International Trade on Wages," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen00-1, January.
    16. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    17. Feenstra, Robert C. (ed.), 2000. "The Impact of International Trade on Wages," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226239637.
    18. Robert E. Lipsey, 2002. "Home and Host Country Effects of FDI," NBER Working Papers 9293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Zhao, Laixun, 1998. "The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Wages and Employment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(2), pages 284-301, April.
    20. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
    21. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Heterogeneous labor; multinational firms; intra-wage distribution; heterogeneous firms;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:1454. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.