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The Effect of Tax Treaties on Multinational Firms: New Evidence from Microdata

  • Ronald B. Davies
  • Pehr-Johan Norbäck
  • Ayça Tekin-Koru

This paper uses affiliate-level data from Swedish multinationals to examine the impact of tax treaties on both overall affiliate sales and the composition of those sales. In line with previous results, we find little evidence for an effect of treaties on the level of total sales. We do, however, find that a tax treaty increases the probability of investment by a firm in a given country. In addition, we find that a treaty reduces exports to the parent but increases imports of intermediate inputs from the parent. This is consistent with treaties increasing the effective host tax. This suggests that tax treaties impact the behaviour of multinationals along some dimensions but not along others. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal World Economy.

Volume (Year): 32 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 77-110

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:32:y:2009:i:1:p:77-110
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  1. Norback, Pehr-Johan, 2001. "Multinational firms, technology and location," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 449-469, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Baltagi, Badi H. & Egger, Peter & Pfaffermayr, Michael, 2007. "Estimating models of complex FDI: Are there third-country effects?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 260-281, September.
  4. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2000. "The Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties on U.S. FDI Activity," NBER Working Papers 7929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. di Giovanni, Julian, 2002. "What Drives Capital Flows? The Case of Cross-Border M&A Activity and Financial Deepening," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt7nq6d7wp, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  7. 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.
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  9. Hanson, G.H., 1999. "`Market Potential, Increasing Returns, and Geographic Concentration," Working Papers 439, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  10. Céline Azémar & Rodolphe Desbordes & Jean-Louis Mucchielli, 2004. "Do tax sparing agreements contribute to the attraction of FDI in developing countries ?," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques bla04047, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  11. Keen, M. & Ligthart, J.E., 2004. "Incentives and Information Exchange in International Taxation," Discussion Paper 2004-54, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2002. "Do Bilateral Tax Treaties Promote Foreign Direct Investment?," NBER Working Papers 8834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2004. "Market Potential and the Location of Japanese Investment in the European Union," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 959-972, November.
  14. Henry Louie & Donald Rousslang, 2008. "Host-country governance, tax treaties and US direct investment abroad," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 256-273, June.
  15. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-71, June.
  16. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995 Elsevier.
  17. Rodolphe Desbordes & Vincent Vicard, 2007. "Foreign direct investment and bilateral investment treaties, an international political perspective," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00176051, HAL.
  18. Thomas A. Gresik, 2001. "The Taxing Task of Taxing Transnationals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 800-838, September.
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  29. Kelly Edmiston & Shannon Mudd & Neven Valev, 2003. "Tax Structures and FDI: The Deterrent Effects of Complexity and Uncertainty," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 24(3), pages 341-359, September.
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