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Multinationals, Monopsony, and Local Development: Evidence from the United Fruit Company
This paper studies the short- and long-run effects of large firms on economic development. We use evidence from one of the largest multinationals of the 20th century: the United Fruit Company (UFCo). The firm was given a large land concession in Costa Rica—one of the so-called "Banana Republics"—from 1899 to 1984. Using administrative census data with census-block geo-references from 1973 to 2011, we implement a geographic regression discontinuity design that exploits a quasi-random assignment of land. We find that the firm had a positive and persistent effect on living standards. Company ...