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Cross-border mergers and domestic-firm wages: Integrating “spillover effects” and “bargaining effects”

Joseph Clougherty (), Klaus Gugler (), Lars Sørgard () and Florian W Szücs
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Florian W Szücs: DIW, Berlin, Germany

Journal of International Business Studies, 2014, vol. 45, issue 4, 450-470

Abstract: Two literatures exist concerning cross-border merger activity’s impact on domestic wages: one focusing on positive spillover effects; the other focusing on negative bargaining effects. Motivated by scarce theoretical scholarship spanning these literatures, we nest both mechanisms in a single conceptual framework. Considering the separate phenomena of inward and outward cross-border merger activity, our theoretical model generates three formal propositions: cross-border mergers can lead to wage increases via positive spillover effects; and negative bargaining effects are relatively more dominant when union market power is high, and when merging firms exhibit relatedness. Employing US firm-level panel data on wages combined with industry-level data on unionization and merger activity (covering 1989–2001), we find support for our propositions as inward and outward cross-border merger activity generate positive spillovers to wages, but are more likely to generate firm-level wage decreases when unionization rates are high and when cross-border merger activity is characterized as horizontal. Accordingly, future research on how cross-border mergers affect domestic wages should be mindful that both spillover and bargaining effects are at play, and that the degree of union market power and the relatedness of cross-border merger activity are critical in determining which effect dominates.

Date: 2014
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