Monday, November 23, 2009

Foreign Ownership Increases Labor Productivity?

The Dutch statistics bureau reports that foreign owned companies (especially North American owned companies) in Holland has a lot higher labor productivity than Dutch owned companies. Does that mean that foreign ownership is what caused the higher productivity?

Well, the foreign ownership per se probably doesn't raise productivity unless you can find some reason why foreign capitalists are better than Dutch ones. However, the fact that these foreign companies that invests in Holland are (almost by definition) multi-national and usually large can explain it.

Larger companies with large factories benefit from economies of scale, something which helps increase efficiency. Many companies use Holland, which is part of the euro area and located in the center of Western Europe, as production center for the entire European market. This furthermore enables vertical specialization, something which also enhances efficiency.

Holland has some domestic owned companies of that sort of course, but most Dutch owned companies are small and focused on the domestic market, while most foreign owned companies are large multinational companies.