Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2015:2: Effects of foreign acquisitions on R&D and high-skill activities

Kent Eliasson (), Pär Hansson () and Markus Lindvert ()
Additional contact information
Kent Eliasson: Growth Analysis and Department of Economics, Umeå University,, Postal: Growth Analysis, Studentplan 3, 831 40 Östersund, Department of Economics, Umeå University, , 901 87 Umeå
Pär Hansson: Uppsala Center for Labor Studies, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Markus Lindvert: Growth Analysis, Postal: Growth Analysis, Studentplan 3, 831 40 Östersund

Abstract: Using Swedish micro data we find no evidence for the concerns circulating in the public debate that foreign acquisitions lead to reductions in R&D expenditures and high-skilled activities in targeted domestic firms, neither in MNEs nor in non-MNEs. Previous studies have only focused on larger firms. In this paper we are able to study the impact on smaller firms (less than 50 employees). This is important since 90 percent of the firms acquired by foreign enterprises have less than 50 employees. For this group of firms there is no information on R&D, but by using the register of educational attainment we have data on the share of high-skilled labor in all Swedish firms, irrespective of size. Interestingly, we find that among smaller firms foreign enterprises tend to acquire high-productive, skill-intensive firms (cherry-picking) and after the acquisitions skill upgrading appears in acquired smaller, non-MNE firms.

Keywords: foreign acquisitions; skill upgrading; R&D intensity; propensity score matching

JEL-codes: F23; J24; O32; O33

33 pages, November 17, 2015

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