Cross-border mergers and domestic-firm wages: Integrating "spillover effects" and "bargaining effects"

Joseph A. Clougherty, Klaus Gugler, Lars Sørgard, Florian W. Szücs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two literatures exist concerning cross-border merger activity's impact on domestic wages: one focusing on positive spillover effects; the other focusing on negative bargaining effects. Motivated by scarce theoretical scholarship spanning these literatures, we nest both mechanisms in a single conceptual framework. Considering the separate phenomena of inward and outward cross-border merger activity, our theoretical model generates three formal propositions: cross-border mergers can lead to wage increases via positive spillover effects; and negative bargaining effects are relatively more dominant when union market power is high, and when merging firms exhibit relatedness. Employing US firm-level panel data on wages combined with industry-level data on unionization and merger activity (covering 1989-2001), we find support for our propositions as inward and outward cross-border merger activity generate positive spillovers to wages, but are more likely to generate firm-level wage decreases when unionization rates are high and when cross-border merger activity is characterized as horizontal. Accordingly, future research on how cross-border mergers affect domestic wages should be mindful that both spillover and bargaining effects are at play, and that the degree of union market power and the relatedness of cross-border merger activity are critical in determining which effect dominates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-470
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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