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Investment abroad and adjustment at home: evidence from UK multinational firms

IFS Working Paper W07/07

I use within-firm, plant-level data combined with geographic information on firms' overseas operations to examine how investment in low-wage economies affects firms' home-country operations. To remain close to theory I focus on changes in firms' organisational and industrial structure driven by plant closures. As predicted by models of vertical multinationals I find that investment in relatively low-wage economies is associated with plant closures in relatively low-skill, labour-intensive industries in the UK. The findings are of interest in the context of the relaxation of barriers to inward investment in low-wage economies.

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