Ownership and Workforce Composition: A Counterfactual Analysis of Foreign Multinationals and Italian Uni-National Firms

Mariachiara Barzotto, Giancarlo Corò, Ilaria Mariotti, Marco Mutinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article investigates how the ownership of firms (affiliates of foreign multinational firms, or uni-national firms) affects their internal workforce composition. We consider this issue empirically by adopting a novel database on the workforce composition of companies operating in the manufacturing industry in north-east Italy. The workforce composition (in terms of skill level, gender and the less investigated characteristics of age and nationality) of affiliates of foreign multinational enterprises (FMNs) are compared with a counterfactual of uni-national firms, constructed using propensity score matching. Consistent with previous studies, the results report that FMNs recruit a larger number of highly-skilled workers. Our main findings show that FMNs employ a lower number of foreign and less experienced (young) workers. The employment of native and more experienced workers in FMNs seems to suggest that foreign companies use domestic ‘inherited’ stock of manufacturing knowledge and skills. By using this stock, they contribute to sustaining its development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-607
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Industrial and Business Economics
Issue number4
Early online date4 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Company workforce composition
  • Foreign direct investments
  • Manufacturing
  • Veneto region

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

Cite this