Discussion paper

DP11637 The growth of multinational firms in the Great Recession

Using a large firm-level dataset, this paper studies multinational firms’ performance during the Great Recession. Foreign multinationals grew faster than local firms outside of the crisis, but slower during the crisis. Industry and size differences between domestic and foreign-owned firms account for much of this slowdown. However, multinationals from different countries performed differently during the crisis. The paper then assesses the role of multinationals in the global recession using a quantitative model. Had multinationals’ relative performance remained unchanged during the crisis, the median country’s aggregate growth would have been 0.12% higher, with a range of -0.13 to 0.5% across countries.


Levchenko, A, V Alviarez and J Cravino (2016), ‘DP11637 The growth of multinational firms in the Great Recession‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11637. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11637