Foreign Direct Investment and Wages: Does the Level of Ownership Matter?

EBRD Working Paper No 157

49 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2013

See all articles by Cagatay Bircan

Cagatay Bircan

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Date Written: May 1, 2013


This study hypothesises that the level of foreign equity participation is a key determinant of the multinational wage premium. In particular, the breakdown of equity in a foreign investment project determines the extent to which a multinational parent company transfers proprietary assets to its affiliate, directly impacting worker productivity. Moreover, it indicates multinationals’ desire to restrict labour turnover and preserve human capital in light of organisational changes and training. Using detailed plant-level data from Turkey, the study finds strong support for these mechanisms. The results show that up to 15 percentage points of the multinational wage premium can be explained by the level of foreign ownership per se. They also indicate that greater foreign equity participation leads to greater transfer of both tangible and intangible assets and thus higher wage premia, especially for skilled workers. This relationship is better approximated as linear rather than binary in contrast to previous literature.

Keywords: foreign direct investment, wages, censoring, ownership structure

JEL Classification: C33, F23, J31

Suggested Citation

Bircan, Cagatay, Foreign Direct Investment and Wages: Does the Level of Ownership Matter? (May 1, 2013). EBRD Working Paper No 157, Available at SSRN: or

Cagatay Bircan (Contact Author)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) ( email )

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