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Multinational enterprises, service outsourcing and regional structural change

Andrea Ascani () and Simona Iammarino

No 1724, Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) from Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography

Abstract: This paper offers a joint analysis of two phenomena characterizing most advanced economies in recent decades: the rise of foreign ownership in manufacturing activities and the pervasiveness of the service economy. The aim of the study is to examine the structural transformation of regional economic systems within the UK by focusing on the role played by foreign multinational enterprises (MNEs) in manufacturing in facilitating the development of services. From a conceptual perspective, this research relies on different strands of literature on the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on recipient economies, on outsourcing and regional structural transformation, and on the identification of local multipliers. The empirical analysis focuses on a specific demand-side channel for structural change: the forward linkage established by foreign manufacturing MNEs with local service providers through outsourcing. Descriptive evidence shows that service outsourcing by foreign plants operating in manufacturing is pervasive compared to outsourcing by their domestic counterparts. On this basic premise, we estimate the multiplicative effects that foreign manufacturing activity has on the creation of service jobs in local labour markets. In order to produce reliable estimates of a local multiplier, the methodology adopts an instrumental variable approach. Our findings suggest that foreign presence in manufacturing can be a catalyst of regional structural change by stimulating the generation of new jobs in the tertiary sector via demand linkages.

Keywords: multinational enterprises; service outsourcing; regional structural change; local labour markets; multiplier (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F6 R1 O3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-eur, nep-geo, nep-int and nep-tid
Date: 2017-09, Revised 2017-09
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:egu:wpaper:1724

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