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Department of Economics, WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien) Growth and Employment in Europe: Sustainability and Competitiveness, Department of Economics, WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien)

No 18:
Multinational Enterprises and Their Domestic Counterparts: Past Research, Current Issues and Future Directions

Christian Bellak ()

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: multinational enterprises; foreign ownership, domestic firms, Foreign Direct Investment; performance gaps; firm performance; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: F2; L1; (follow links to similar papers)

November 2001

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