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International rent sharing and takeovers

Jozef Konings (Department of Economics, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Luca Marcolin (Vlaams Instituut voor Economie en Samenleving, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Ilke van Beveren (Department of International Business, Strategy and Economics, KU Leuven, Antwerp, Belgium)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 3 May 2016




The purpose of this paper is to provide empirical evidence of international rent sharing in multinational enterprises. It looks at changes in rent sharing before and after the acquisition of a company by a foreign entity, and assesses the role of target and acquirer profitability in the wage setting process for the target firm. It therefore contributes to the evaluation of the impact of a form of globalization (inward foreign direct investment (FDI)) onto wages.


The authors use a unique firm level longitudinal dataset of M & As in Belgium between 1998 and 2010. The authors construct a micro-level dataset containing takeover and accounting information for target and acquiring firms. The empirical set up permits to net the estimates from selection effects in the choice of target firm, using propensity score matching and a difference-in-difference approach.


The authors find evidence that the deal does not significantly affect the degree of domestic rent sharing, but it enables international rent sharing. The authors qualify the results in terms of the acquirer’s location, industry link with the target and controlling stake. Further robustness specifications include different profits and controls, and a comparison with a sample of domestic acquisitions.

Research limitations/implications

The sample of matches for acquired firms is constructed using propensity scores, which may not perfectly capture the differences between targeted and non-targeted companies. Although estimates should be net of selection effects, other sources of endogeneity may still make the estimates inconsistent.

Practical implications

Updating the discussion on the labor market consequences of globalization, and on foreign takeovers in particular.

Social implications

The discussion on international takeover should take into account not only the extensive margin (i.e. labor adjustments) but also salaries. The authors argue that through a precise channel (rent sharing) international takeovers of domestic companies may benefit the domestic labor force.


The dataset was constructed for the purposes of this analysis; rent sharing is tested in a takeover scenario for the first time, thus avoiding selection biases.



The authors would like to thank the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO) for financial support. The authors are very grateful for insightful comments from Italo Colantone, Koen Deconinck, Stefaan Decramer, Andrea Garnero, Fredrik Heyman, Jo Reynaerts, Claudia Steinwender, Wouter Torfs, Jan van Hove, Stijn Vanormelingen, and participants to the ETSG in Birmingham and the BELSPO seminar.


Konings, J., Marcolin, L. and van Beveren, I. (2016), "International rent sharing and takeovers", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 268-302.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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