The Effects of Joining Multinational Supply Chains: New Evidence from Firm-to-Firm Linkages

Working Paper
Published on 1 December 2020

Abstract

Alfaro-Ureña et al. (2020) study the effects of becoming a supplier to multinational corporations (MNCs) using tax data tracking firm-to-firm transactions in Costa Rica. Event-study estimates reveal that domestic firms experience strong and persistent gains in performance after supplying to a first MNC buyer. Four years after, domestic firms employ 26% more workers and have a 4 to 9% higher total factor productivity (TFP). These effects are unlikely to be explained by demand effects or changes in tax compliance. Moreover, suppliers experience a large drop in their sales to all other buyers except the first MNC buyer in the year of the event, followed by a gradual recovery. The dynamics of adjustment in sales to others suggests that firms face short-run capacity constraints that relax over time. Four years later, the sales to others grow by 20%. Most of this growth comes from the acquisition of new buyers, which tend to be “better buyers” (e.g., larger and with more stable supplier relationships). Finally, surveys of domestic firms and MNCs provide further insights into the wide-ranging benefits of supplying to MNCs. According to the study's surveys, these benefits range from better managerial practices to a better reputation.

Authors

Alonso Alfaro-Ureña

University of Costa Rica

Isabela Manelici

London School of Economics

Jose Pablo Vasquez Carvajal

London School of Economics