Unions and the productivity performance of multinational enterprises: evidence from China

  • Tony FangEmail author
  • Ying Ge
  • Youqing Fan
Original Article


This paper uses the economic census data of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in the Chinese manufacturing industry to investigate the effects of Chinese unions on firm productivity. We show that Chinese unions have a significant “collective voice” effect by participating in a wide range of decision-making and production-related activities. The empirical evidence suggests that the presence of Chinese unions in MNEs is positively associated with enterprise productivity. We also find that the union productivity effects are stronger in MNEs than those in domestic private firms and that the effectiveness of unions is more significant in skill-intensive industries.


Multinational enterprises Unions Productivity China 



This paper is funded by China Social Science Foundation Grant (17BSH076), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Grant (890-2016-4023), and Stephen Jarislowsky Foundation Research Grant (Dr. Tony Fang) and Western Sydney University Academic Development Program Funding 2018, Western Sydney University School of Business Professional Development Funding 2017 (Dr. Youqing Fan), and National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 71433002) (Dr. Ying Ge).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementXihua UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  3. 3.School of EconomicsZhejiang UniversityZhejiangChina
  4. 4.Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

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