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Profit Shifting by Multinationals: Indirect Evidence from European Micro Data

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  • Dischinger, Matthias
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    Abstract

    We provide indirect empirical evidence of profit shifting behavior by multinational enterprises. This issue is analyzed in an econometric panel study for the years 1995 to 2005 and additionally in a cross-section for 2004 using a large micro database of European subsidiaries of multinationals (AMADEUS) which includes detailed balance sheet items. Our results show a decrease in the unconsolidated pre-tax profits of an affiliated company of approximately 7% if the difference in the statutory corporate tax rate of this affiliate to its parent increases by 10 percentage points. Various robustness checks support our profit shifting evidence. Furthermore, the results suggest an overall shift of profits out of the European Union. In addition, we provide evidence that a higher parent's ownership share of its subsidiary leads to intensified profit shifting behavior.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 2029.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:2029

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    Keywords: corporate taxation; multinational enterprise; tax planning; profit shifting; micro level data; panel econometrics;

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    1. Stöwhase, Sven, 2002. "Profit Shifting opportunities, Multinationals, and the determinants of FDI," Discussion Papers in Economics 29, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Hines, James R, Jr & Rice, Eric M, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-82, February.
    3. Fred Ramb & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2005. "Taxes and the Financial Structure of German Inward FDI," Kiel Working Papers 1252, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
    4. Swenson, Deborah L., 2001. "Tax Reforms and Evidence of Transfer Pricing," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 7-26, March.
    5. Jack Mintz & Alfons Weichenrieder, 2005. "Taxation and the Financial Structure of German Outbound FDI," CESifo Working Paper Series 1612, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Mintz, Jack & Smart, Michael, 2004. "Income shifting, investment, and tax competition: theory and evidence from provincial taxation in Canada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1149-1168, June.
    7. Grubert, Harry, 2003. "Intangible Income, Intercompany Transactions, Income Shifting, and the Choice of Location," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(1), pages 221-42, March.
    8. Egger, Peter & Eggert, Wolfgang & Winner, Hannes, 2010. "Saving taxes through foreign plant ownership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 99-108, May.
    9. Overesch, Michael, 2006. "Transfer pricing of intrafirm sales as a profit shifting channel: evidence from German firm data," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-84, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    10. Grubert, Harry & Mutti, John, 1991. "Taxes, Tariffs and Transfer Pricing in Multinational Corporate Decision Making," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 285-93, May.
    11. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2007. "Quality versus Quantity – The Composition Effect of Corporate Taxation on Foreign Direct Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2126, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc, 2007. "International Profit Shifting within European Multinationals," CEPR Discussion Papers 6048, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Clausing, Kimberly A., 2003. "Tax-motivated transfer pricing and US intrafirm trade prices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2207-2223, September.
    14. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Transfer Pricing by U.S.-Based Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 12493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Matthias Wrede, 2009. "Multinational Capital Structure and Tax Competition," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200934, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    2. Dischinger, Matthias & Riedel, Nadine, 2011. "Corporate taxes and the location of intangible assets within multinational firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 691-707, August.
    3. Matthias Dischinger & Nadine Riedel, 2008. "Corporate Taxes, Profit Shifting and the Location of Intangibles within Multinational Firms," Working Papers 060, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    4. John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2011. "Corporation tax asymmetries: effective tax rates and profit shifting," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 422-435, August.

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