The European Journal of Comparative Economics

ISSN: 1824-2979

EJCE Year: 2010, June. Volume: 7 - Issue: 1

Domestic Multinationals and Foreign-Owned Firms in Italy: Evidence from Quantile Regression

by Mara Grasseni

Start page: 61 - End page: 86

Keywords: Multinationals; Performance indicators; Heterogeneity; Quantile Regression

Jel code: F23; D21; L10


This paper investigates the performance differences across and within foreign-owned firms and domestic multinationals in Italy. Used for the empirical analysis are non-parametric tests based on the concept of first order stochastic dominance and quantile regression technique. The firm-level analysis distinguishes between foreign-owned firms of different nationalities and domestic MNEs according to the location of their FDI, and it focuses not only on productivity but also on differences in average wages, capital intensity, and financial and non-financial indicators, namely ROS, ROI and debt leverage. Overall, the results provide evidence of remarkable heterogeneity across and within multinationals. In particular, it seems not possible to identify a clear foreign advantage at least in terms of productivity, because foreign-owned firms do not outperform domestic multinationals. Interesting results are obtained when focusing on ROS and ROI, where the profitability gaps change as one moves from the bottom to the top of the conditional distribution. Domestic multinationals investing only in developed countries present higher ROS and ROI compared with the subgroups of foreign-owned firms, but only at the lower quantiles, while at the upper quantiles the advantage seems to favour foreign firms. Finally, in regard to domestic multinationals, there is strong evidence that those active only in less developed countries persistently exhibit the worst performances.

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