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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : European Economic Review, Volume 60, May 2013, Pages 170–188
This paper provides the first microeconomic cross-country analysis of the effects of foreign ownership on wages, employment and worker turnover rates. Using firm-level and linked worker-firm data, we apply a standardised methodology for three developed (Germany, Portugal, UK) and two emerging economies (Brazil, Indonesia). We find that wage effects are larger in developing countries, and that for each country the largest effect on wages comes from workers who move from domestic to foreign firms. Employment growth after foreign takeover is concentrated in high-skill jobs. In contrast to widespread fears, there is no evidence that wage gains come at the expense of greater job insecurity; separation rates actually fall slightly after takeover. We conclude that the positive effect of foreign ownership on wages is not primarily driven by its impact on incumbent wages, but by its impact on the creation of high-wage jobs.
Multinational enterprises have become key drivers of the world economy. The share of FDI in world GDP has more than tripled since the 1980s. The share of FDI to and from non-OECD countries has also increased substantially, particularly since the 1990s. And in many developing countries FDI now represents the main source of external finance. Policy makers have generally welcomed these trends, emphasizing the potential benefits that FDI may bring to the host country. Since multinational enterprises (MNEs) are thought to have superior management or production techniques (or some other sort of “firm-specific asset”) to be able to effectively compete with local firms in foreign markets, this operational advantage may also benefit workers who are employed in the foreign affiliates of MNEs, or may spillover to the wider economy in which the foreign affiliate operates. However, the increased importance of MNEs in the world economy and in emerging markets in particular has also raised social concerns. The way one evaluates the social impact of MNEs depends crucially on the normative standard that is used (OECD, 2008). Based on a home-country standard — which involves comparing working conditions in the host country with those in the home country — MNEs that have exploited international differences in labour costs by relocating some of their activities abroad have sometimes been accused of practising unfair competition. It is argued that foreign workers are not given their ‘just’ reward and, as a result, workers in the home country have to withstand unfair competition based on excessively low pay. While such an argument may have a place in the debate on the social impact of outward investment at home, it is potentially counterproductive in the context of the debate on the social impact of inward investment in the host country. Alternatively, one may evaluate the social behaviour of MNEs by comparing working conditions against a set of universal standards such as those enshrined in the ILO's core labour standards. Since in many low-income countries labour standards are not effectively enforced, human right activists have demanded that accountability mechanisms be put in place to ensure that core labour standards are respected throughout the operations of MNEs. While this is an interesting issue to look at, systematic information on compliance levels of MNEs to core labour standards is lacking. This paper assesses the way MNEs treat their workers in their foreign operations using a local standard that involves comparing working conditions in the foreign affiliates of MNEs with those in comparable domestic firms. The difference may be interpreted as the social impact of MNEs in the host country. This allows one to simultaneously analyse the potential positive benefits emphasised by policy makers as well as social concerns over the tendency of MNEs to use their bargaining power to force workers into sub-standard working conditions. Moreover, Porter and Kramer (2006) argue that the actual social impact also represents the appropriate benchmark to evaluate the corporate social responsibility of MNEs rather than, more narrowly, the extent to which corporate reputations for responsible business conduct are harnessed and stakeholder expectations satisfied.1 This notion is also reflected in major multilateral initiatives to promote responsible business conduct such as the ILO's Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (ILO, 2000) and the OECD's Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD, 2011). They both recommend MNEs to observe standards of employment no worse than those observed by similar employers in the host country. This paper thus seeks to address the question whether it is better to work for a multinational or a national firm. The paper does not consider the indirect social impact that MNEs may have on their environment, although this may be important as well.2 A large literature already exists that analyses differences in pay between foreign and domestic firms, so-called ‘foreign wage premia’. The literature has largely focused on differences between foreign and domestic firms rather than multinational and national firms as it is typically not possible to identify domestic MNEs with the available data. The same approach will be used in the present paper. Most of the previous evidence is based on firm-level data. Until recently, there was a consensus that foreign firms pay higher wages than their domestic counterparts and that foreign wage premia tend to be higher in less developed countries (e.g. Girma and Görg, 2007, Lipsey and Sjöholm, 2006 and Moran, 2006). However, with the increasing availability of linked employer–employee data (LEED) this consensus has been challenged (e.g. Martins, 2004, Heyman et al., 2007 and Andrews et al., 2010). These authors all find that after controlling for worker and firm characteristics, wage effects become much smaller, and in some cases disappear altogether or even become negative. This seems to be because foreign-owned firms select on worker quality: workers in foreign-owned firms would have earned more even if they had worked for domestically-owned firms. However, the implications of these recent studies for the conventional wisdom are not well understood. In part, this is because the results are qualitatively mixed. Why do some studies find small positive effects, and other insignificant or even negative effects? Does this reflect differences in the econometric methodology (and particularly the use of different controls), differences in country characteristics or differences in the nature of FDI? Another reason why the implications are difficult to gauge is that these recent studies are all limited to European countries, while the effects are generally believed to be much more important in developing countries (e.g. Moran, 2006). As a result, it is an open question what the effect of controlling for firm and worker selection would be for the estimation of foreign wage premia in developing countries. This paper analyses the role of foreign ownership for wages, worker turnover and employment by focusing on changes in ownership status as a result of cross-border acquisitions or worker movements. In order to overcome the problem of selection bias that is associated with the non-random nature of firm acquisitions and worker movements the study makes use of propensity score matching in combination with difference-in-differences methods.3 In doing so, the paper makes three key contributions. First, we replicate the consensus in the empirical literature by applying a standardised methodology to firm-level data for three developed (Germany, Portugal and the UK) and two emerging economies (Brazil and Indonesia). Consistent with the conventional wisdom, the results indicate that foreign-owned firms offer substantially higher average wages than domestic firms and that this difference is particularly important in emerging economies. Second, we further show that large wage effects tend to be associated with significant scale effects in terms of employment and no, or small, reductions in worker turnover. This suggests that the bulk of the wage difference is likely to be associated with increases in hiring of relatively skilled or at least highly-paid workers. It also provides some evidence in favour of theoretical models that suggest MNEs are more likely to pay efficiency wages. Third, we provide internationally comparable evidence on the role of foreign ownership for average wages that controls for worker selection using worker-level data for Brazil, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom.4 The results indicate that the positive wage effects of foreign takeovers are substantially smaller when controlling for changes in the composition of the workforce, although they tend to remain positive. Moreover, the wage effects associated with worker movements from domestic to foreign-owned firms are potentially important, particularly in emerging economies. The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. Section 2 discusses under what circumstances foreign-owned firms may have incentives to offer different wages and better working conditions to similar workers doing similar jobs in domestic firms. Section 3 discusses the empirical literature on the effects of foreign ownership on wages and working conditions. Section 4 describes the various data sources used and their comparability across countries. Section 5 presents the econometric methodology and Section 6 presents the results. The final section provides some concluding remarks.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Until recently, the empirical literature on the role of foreign ownership on wages was characterised by a consensus that foreign-owned firms pay higher wages than domestic firms and that foreign-wage premia are particularly important in emerging economies. This consensus was, to a large extent, based on evidence that identifies the role of foreign ownership on average wages by focusing on cross-border takeovers using longitudinal firm-level data. This paper provides consistent and systematic cross-country evidence which helps to sharpen and qualify the consensus in the literature. First, this paper applies a standardised methodology to firm-level data for three developed countries and two large emerging economies. The results confirm that foreign-owned firms offer higher average wages than their domestic counterparts in all five countries. Moreover, consistent with the conventional wisdom, foreign-wage premia appear to be particularly important in emerging economies. Foreign-wage premia in the three developed countries are consistently below 10% (between 2% and 8%) and foreign-wage premia in the two emerging economies in the range of 15% to 20%. While there are enormous differences in scale between foreign and domestic firms, particularly in the two developing countries, there is a less systematic relationship between employment growth and the foreign takeover of domestic firms. In some countries takeovers are associated with quite large increases in employment (Portugal, Indonesia) while in others (Germany, the UK and Brazil) there are no such scale effects. We find that employment effects of foreign takeovers are always positive for high-skill employment and usually negative for low-skill employment. Second, this paper shows that the conventional wisdom overstates the true wage premium, but also that it remains qualitatively valid after controlling for composition bias. Using linked worker-firm data suggests that foreign wage premia are much smaller than previously believed: foreign-wage premia range from 1% to 6% in all the four countries analysed and, in some cases, the effect becomes insignificantly different from zero. Foreign-wage premia are still more important in emerging economies, although one should be careful in drawing strong conclusions as the worker-level analysis only involves one emerging economy (Brazil). The difference between the firm and worker level estimates of foreign wage premia indicates important changes in the composition of the workforce, which is largely consistent with the employment effects by skill-group. Thus, by focusing on incumbent workers, the worker-level analysis excludes a key channel, perhaps even the main one, through which foreign takeovers may affect workers. Third, this paper shows that foreign-wage premia associated with worker movements from domestic to foreign firms may be economically important and that such movements may be more beneficial for workers in less developed countries (in the order of 6% to 10% for the three developed countries and over 16% in Brazil). The results on worker mobility suggest that the difference between the firm and worker-level estimates of foreign wage premia may not just be due to compositional changes in the workforce, but also capture the greater importance of foreign ownership for the wages of new hires as opposed to incumbent workers. Moreover, to the extent that substantial wage differences between similar workers within firms may be hard to sustain one would expect the positive effects of foreign ownership to new hires to trickle down to the rest of the workforce with time. The positive wage and employment effects of foreign takeovers do not appear to be compensated by a reduction of job security. Although some authors have argued that multinationals are inherently “footloose”, or that jobs in multinationals may be less secure, our results indicate consistently small but negative effects on separation rates, consistent with theories which stress the role of higher wages in preventing worker movement and associated spillover effects.