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Assistant Professor of Finance

Chenzi Xu

Faculty Affiliate
King Center on Global Development

Assistant Professor of Finance
Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)

Chenzi Xu is an assistant professor of finance at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her research is at the intersection of finance, international economics, and economic history. She focuses on the relationship between banks and international capital and goods flows, with a particular interest in understanding how historical events impact and shape modern outcomes. 

Professor Xu received her PhD in economics from Harvard. Prior to joining Stanford, she spent a year at Dartmouth College as the International Economics Postdoctoral Fellow. She holds a BA from Harvard in economics and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in economic history, where she was the William Shirley Scholar at Pembroke College. 

Government and Institutions
work, Entrepreneurship, and finance



King Center Supported Research

2020 - 2021 Academic Year | Junior Faculty Research Grant

The Impact of Multinational Enterprises on Labor Markets in Brazil

Whether multinational enterprises (MNEs) improve or impair the lives of the world’s poor remains a hotly debated question. The entry of new foreign investments and actors is often controversial, with critics accusing foreign entities of increasing unemployment and widening income inequality while advocates arguing that foreign capital accelerates the growth process, allowing poor countries to invest in much- needed technologies and capital that make labor more productive.

The lack of conclusive results on the question of the role of MNEs on development likely comes from the fact that the effect depends on which MNEs enter the country and in which sector. Using Brazil as a laboratory, we want to exploit the many sectoral, geographical and nationality variations in MNE entry, exit, and development across Brazilian local labor markets to answer several questions:

1. What is the wage premium / discount a worker earns when she is hired by a foreign multinational and how does this premium / discount vary in the cross-section of workers’ skill and sectors?

2. How are domestic firms and their workers in nearby locations affected by foreign firms and how these effects vary with the sector and investment model of the MNEs?

3. How does it affect the provision of public goods?

4. What effect does it have on the sources of structural transformation, and in particular on the entry of women into the labor force and the empowerment of women (Greenwood-Seshadri, 2004), as well as in incentivizing higher human capital investment (Caselli-Coleman, 2001)?

To answer these questions in the Brazilian context, we plan to combine several datasets that allow us to observe MNE entry and their effects on local labor markets.