Multinationals, Intrafirm Trade, and Employment Volatility
This paper examines the theoretically ambiguous relationship between the volatility of employment growth and the foreign exposure of firms. We employ unique Japanese firm-level data over the period 1994-2012. This allows us to investigate any differences in this relationship across multinational firms and trading and nontrading firms, manufacturing and wholesale trade, and intrafirm and interfirm trade. One major finding is that in manufacturing, employment volatility increases as the share of intrafirm exports to total sales increases. In contrast, in wholesale trade, employment volatility declines as the share of intrafirm imports to total imports increases. One possible interpretation of these results is that the transmission of foreign supply and demand shocks could be through not only manufacturing, but also wholesale trade firms. Further, a higher share of intrafirm trade could magnify foreign demand shocks in manufacturing, and could mitigate foreign supply shocks in wholesale trade.