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Transfer Pricing by Multinational Firms: New Evidence from Foreign Firm Ownerships

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  • Anca D. Cristea
  • Daniel X. Nguyen

Abstract

Using a firm-level dataset of Danish exports between 1999-2006, we find robust evidence for profit shifting by multinational corporations. Our triple difference estimations exploit the response of export unit values to acquisitions of foreign affiliates and to changes in statutory corporate tax rates. This identification strategy corrects for a downward bias resulting from firms adjusting arm's length prices to obscure transfer price manipulations. We find that Danish multinationals reduce the unit values of their exports to low tax countries between 5.7 to 9.1 percent. This difference corresponds to a tax revenue loss of 3.24 percent of Danish multinationals' tax returns.

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  • Anca D. Cristea & Daniel X. Nguyen, 2016. "Transfer Pricing by Multinational Firms: New Evidence from Foreign Firm Ownerships," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 170-202, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:170-202
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20130407
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    Cited by:

    1. Bodo Knoll & Nadine Riedel, 2015. "Transfer Pricing Laws," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(4), pages 22-26, 01.
    2. Ronald B. Davies & Julien Martin & Mathieu Parenti & Farid Toubal, 2018. "Knocking on Tax Haven’s Door: Multinational Firms and Transfer Pricing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 120-134, March.
    3. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2015:i:4:p:19149986 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Rathke, Alex Augusto Timm & Rezende, Amaury José, 2016. "Exploring the characteristics of transfer pricing systems across countries," MPRA Paper 70437, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Linda Andersson & Patrik Karpaty & Selen Savsin, 2016. "Firm-level effects of offshoring of materials and services on relative labor demand," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(2), pages 321-350, May.
    6. Goyal, Ashima, 2015. "Emergence of cross-border taxation and firm behaviour," MPRA Paper 79819, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Miethe, Jakob & Menkhoff, Lukas, 2017. "Dirty money coming home: Capital flows into and out of tax havens," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168082, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Anca Cristea, 2015. "The effect of communication costs on trade in headquarter services," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 151(2), pages 255-289, May.
    9. Hayley Reynolds & Ludvig Wier, 2016. "Estimating profit shifting in South Africa using firm-level tax returns," WIDER Working Paper Series 128, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Rathke, Alex Augusto Timm & Rezende, Amaury José, 2016. "Exploring the characteristics of transfer pricing systems across countries," EconStor Preprints 130141, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    11. Cyril Chalendard, 2016. "Shifting-Profits through Tax Loopholes. Evidence from Ecuador," CESifo Working Paper Series 6240, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. V. Vicard, 2015. "Profit shifting through transfer pricing: evidence from French firm level trade data," Working papers 555, Banque de France.
    13. Niels Johannesen & Jukka Pirttilä, 2016. "Capital flight and development: An overview of concepts, methods, and data sources," WIDER Working Paper Series 095, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Rao, R. Kavita & Sengupta, D.P., 2014. "Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting: An Indian Perspective," Working Papers 14/133, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    15. Niels Johannesen & Thomas Tørsløv & Ludvig Wier, 2016. "Are less developed countries more exposed to multinational tax avoidance? Method and evidence from micro-data," WIDER Working Paper Series 010, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. Peter Egger & Michael Stimmelmayr, 2017. "Taxation and the Multinational Firm," CESifo Working Paper Series 6384, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Michael Overesch & Sabine Schenkelberg & Georg Wamser, 2018. "Do US Firms Pay Less Tax than their European Peers? On Firm Characteristics, Profit Shifting Opportunities, and Tax Legislation as Determinants of Tax Differentials," CESifo Working Paper Series 6960, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Niels Johannesen & Thomas Tørsløv & Ludvig Wier, 2016. "Are less developed countries more exposed to multinational tax avoidance? Method and evidence from micro-data," WIDER Working Paper Series 010b (Revised version May, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    19. Dekker, Vincent & Strohmaier, Kristina, 2017. "The effect of transfer pricing regulations on intra-industry trade," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 32-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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