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Asymmetric FDI and tax-treaty bargaining: theory and evidence

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  • Chisik, Richard
  • Davies, Ronald B.

Abstract

Tax treaties are often viewed as a mechanism for eliminating tax competition, however, this approach ignores the need for bargaining over the treaty’s terms. This paper makes a first attempt at modeling the conflicting goals in treaty formation by analyzing a cooperative bargaining model of tax determination. In a simple framework, we develop hypotheses about patterns in treaty tax rates. A key determinant for these patterns is the relative size of bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) activity. In plausible situations, more asymmetric countries will negotiate treaties with higher tax rates. The implications of the model are then tested using 1992 data from bilateral tax treaties with the United States and within the OECD. We find that treaty-specified withholding taxes vary in a systematic way that is consistent with our simple bargaining model. In particular, our results highlight the importance of differences in bilateral FDI activity between the two countries. As the size of this asymmetry grows the scope for cooperation is decreased and negotiated tax rates are higher. We find similar results for relative country size. These findings indicate that it may be difficult for highly asymmetric countries to negotiate a treaty, and in fact, our analysis suggests that countries with highly asymmetric FDI activity are also the least likely to have a treaty.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2004)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
Pages: 1119-1148

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:6:p:1119-1148

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Cited by:
  1. Eric Neumayer, 2007. "Do double taxation treaties increase foreign direct investment to developing countries?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(8), pages 1501-1519.
  2. Elsayyad, May & Konrad, Kai A., 2012. "Fighting multiple tax havens," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 295-305.
  3. Luca Salvadori & José María Durán-Cabré & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2013. "Empirical Evidence On Tax Information Sharing Among Sub-Central Administrations," ERSA conference papers ersa13p461, European Regional Science Association.
  4. Emily Blanchard, 2006. "Reevaluating the Role of Trade Agreements: Does Investment Globalization Make the WTO Obsolete?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1735, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Arjan Lejour, 2014. "The Foreign Investment Effects of Tax Treaties," CPB Discussion Paper 265, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  6. Rixen, Thomas & Rohlfing, Ingo, 2005. "The political economy of bilateralism and multilateralism: Institutional choice in international trade and taxation," TranState Working Papers 31, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
  7. Rixen, Thomas, 2008. "The institutional Design of international double Taxation Avoidance," MPRA Paper 8322, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Bruce A. Blonigen, 2005. "A Review of the Empirical Literature on FDI Determinants," NBER Working Papers 11299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rixen, Thomas & Rohlfing, Ingo, 2005. "The Political Economy of Bilateralism and Multilateralism: Institutional Choice in Trade and Taxation," MPRA Paper 325, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2005.
  10. Daniel Millimet & Abdullah Kumas, 2007. "Reassessing the Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties on US FDI Activity," Departmental Working Papers 0704, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  11. Ronald B. Davies, 2003. "Tax Treaties, Renegotiations, and Foreign Direct Investment," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2003-14, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 10 Jun 2003.
  12. Bruce A. Blonigen & Lindsay Oldenski & Nicholas Sly, 2011. "Separating the Opposing Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties," NBER Working Papers 17480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. May Elsayyad, 2012. "Bargaining over Tax Information Exchange," Working Papers bargaining_over_tax_infor, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.

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