How do Multinational Digital Firms Affect Local Ecosystems? Evidence from Canada

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Présentation et discussion en compagnie de Tazia R. Khushboo (University of Calgary), Alexander Whalley (University of Calgary) et leur partenaire industriel Huju Liu (Statistique Canada).


How does multinationals’ adoption of digital technologies affect employment of digital workers, and wages in the local ecosystem? The answer to this question is not immediately apparent. Digitally intensive local firms belonging to multinationals may compete with other local firms to attract digital workers that may increase the wages these workers earn.

This will make it costly for local firms to employ digital workers, hindering their technology adoption. On the other hand, as multinationals become more digitally intensive, the supply of digital workers may increase, leading to a fall in their wages, making digitization more affordable for local firms. To empirically answer this question, we use novel linked employer-employee data with information on digital technology use for Canada.

Multinational enterprises don’t adopt digital technologies based on local labor market shocks; instead, they adopt a common technology policy across firms operating globally. We will instrument for local multinational firms’ digital technology use with that of their foreign counterparts to identify the direct and indirect effects on firm-level digital intensity, employment, and productivity as well as worker earnings. Our rich data allows us to identify the mechanisms through which multinational firms’ digitalization produce spillover effects in the Canadian labor market.

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Présenté par :

Tazia R. Khushboo
PhD Candidate, Department of Economics, University of Calgary

Tazia is a PhD candidate at the Department of Economics, University of Calgary. Her research interests include innovation, and labor economics. She is currently working with Dr. Alexander Whalley to understand how multinational digital firms affect firm performance, and worker pay in the Canadian local ecosystem. As part of her dissertation, she is also investigating to what extent innovation funding programs ultimately generate positive impacts for firms, and workers. Tazia obtained her Master of Arts in Economics from The University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2018. In 2019, she joined as a faculty member at BRAC University, Bangladesh at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences (currently on study leave). Prior to that, Tazia has worked in research teams assessing development projects funded by donors including The World Bank, UNDP, and Institute of Development Studies (IDS). Over a period of five years, she contributed to projects that addressed a range of socio-economic, and politico-legal issues including regional trade, primary education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, climate change, and social protection.


Alexander Whalley
Associate Professor of Economics and Business, University of Calgary
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Alexander Whalley is Associate Professor of Economics and the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. He also serves as a Lab Economist at the Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies and a research fellow with the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland – College Park and has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University, the University of California – Berkeley, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. In 2022-2023 he is a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.

Professor Whalley’s research interests are in urban economics, labor economics, innovation and productivity. His work has been published in the Journal of Political Economy, Review of Economics and Statistics, American Economic Journal – Economic Policy, and the Journal of Public Economics, among other outlets. Professor Whalley teaches courses in economics and real estate.


Huju Liu
Principal researcher, Economic Analysis Division, Statistics Canada

Huju Liu is a principal researcher in the Economic Analysis Division of Statistics Canada. His primary research interests include labor market dynamics, entrepreneurship and firm dynamics, and new technologies and skills. He has published articles in peer reviewed journals such as European Economic Review, Quantitative Economics and Canadian Journal of Economics. In his current role, he is also managing the Canadian Employer-Employee Dynamics Database. Huju received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 2023-03-30 à 15 h 44 min.