Winners and Losers of Multinational Firm Entry into Developing Countries: Evidence from the Special Economic Zonesof the People’s Republic of China

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This paper examines the impact of multinational firm entry into local labor markets on employment, productivity, and wages. It exploits the People’s Republic of China’s rapid implementation of economic reforms and assignment of cities to special economic zone status in the 1980s and 1990s. Using data on both firms and workers, it is found that these policies increased foreign direct investment, which raised average labor productivity in these labor markets. However, only modest increases in real median wage rates across these cities are observed in the face of large increases in wage inequality and rising local prices, limiting the benefits to most workers in these cities. Evidence is presented that corporate profits captured most of the increase in productivity in these areas.

Last updated on 02/04/2015