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There's No Place Like Home: The Profitability Gap between Headquarters and their Foreign Subsidiaries

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  • Dischinger, Matthias
  • Riedel, Nadine

Abstract

Using a large panel data set for European firms, this paper provides evidence that operations at multinational headquarters are significantly more profitable than perations at their foreign subsidiaries. The effect turns out to be robust and quantitatively large. Our findings suggest that the profitability gap is partly driven by agency costs which arise if value-driving functions are managed by a subsidiary that is geographically separated from the headquarters management. In line with falling communication and travel costs over the last decade, the profitability gap is shown to decline over time. Apart from that, our results indicate that a higher competitiveness of multinational firms in their home markets also contributes to the profitability gap. We discuss various implications of our findings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 10976.

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Date of creation: 28 Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:10976

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Keywords: profitability distribution; multinational enterprise; corporate taxes;

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References

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  3. Dischinger, Matthias & Riedel, Nadine, 2011. "Corporate taxes and the location of intangible assets within multinational firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 691-707.
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Cited by:
  1. Dischinger, Matthias & Riedel, Nadine, 2008. "Corporate Taxes and the Location of Intangible Assets Within Multinational Firms," Discussion Papers in Economics 5294, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Schindler, Dirk & Møen, Jarle & Schjelderup, Guttorm & Tropina, Julia, 2013. "International Debt Shifting: Do Multinationals Shift Internal or External Debt?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79749, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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