Picking “Lemons” or Picking “Cherries”? Domestic and Foreign Acquisitions in Norwegian Manufacturing*


  • *

    We are grateful for comments from and discussions with Carlo Altomonte, Jarle Møen, Øivind Anti Nilsen, Kjell Gunnar Salvanes, and Frode Steen. We also thank two anonymous referees for valuable comments. All remaining errors are our own.


We compare the performance in employment, wages and productivity for domestic plants acquired by new domestic and foreign owners. Prospective foreign owners pick large, high-wage, high-productivity plants, while new domestic owners choose average performers of above-average size. Employment, labour productivity, and total factor productivity decline in domestic acquisition targets before acquisitions; only wages recover afterwards. Employment, wages and labour productivity increase after foreign acquisitions. The sample selection introduced by long-term comparisons and a focus on unique events introduces a downward bias into the results for domestic acquisitions and an upward bias for the foreign acquisitions.