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Amsterdam Business School scholars have studied who benefits financially from working for a multinational enterprise (MNE), and in which situations we see a wage premium.

The paper, ‘Unraveling the MNE wage premium’, was recently published in the top-ranked Journal of International Business Studies. Authored by Khadija van der Straaten, Niccolò Pisani and Ans Kolk, the paper also provided new insight into the gender wage gap, using unique micro-level data from over 40,000 employees in 13 countries.

While showing that it does pay to work for a multinational to start with, they also found significant differences in MNEs’ distributional effects that largely depend on the host-country context. A notable and unexpected result is the existence of a larger gender wage gap in developing countries, where multinationals pay women less than domestic firms. The study points at the need to reassess statements about the generic positive impact of MNEs in host countries, particularly in developing countries. In some contexts, multinationals may be causing more inequality than often assumed.