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Transfer Prices and the Excess Cost of Canadian Oil Imports: New Evidence on Bertrand versus Rugman


  • Jean-Thomas Bernard
  • Robert J. Weiner


This paper presents the first systematic empirical evidence on transfer pricing in multinational corporations. The authors examine the Canadian petroleum industry, which is dominated by foreign multinationals. The data cover the period 1974-84 and allow the authors to analyze the allegation of excess cost paid by Canadians for crude oil imports. They find little empirical evidence to support the view that during this period, FOB crude oil prices paid by Canadian affiliates of multinational corporations were higher than FOB third-party or arm's-length prices, once qualitative factors are taken into account. Indeed the opposite conclusion, that Canada has benefited from multinational oil companies' transfer-pricing practices, appears to prevail.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Thomas Bernard & Robert J. Weiner, 1992. "Transfer Prices and the Excess Cost of Canadian Oil Imports: New Evidence on Bertrand versus Rugman," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 22-40, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:25:y:1992:i:1:p:22-40

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ian Domowitz & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1986. "Business Cycles and the Relationship Between Concentration and Price-Cost Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
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    7. Cowling, Keith & Waterson, Michael, 1976. "Price-Cost Margins and Market Structure," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(171), pages 267-274, August.
    8. Bernstein, Jeffrey I, 1989. "An Examination of the Equilibrium Specification and Structure of Production for Canadian Telecommunications," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(3), pages 265-282, July-Sept.
    9. Appelbaum, Elie, 1982. "The estimation of the degree of oligopoly power," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 287-299, August.
    10. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 55-66, February.
    11. Hulten, Charles R, 1973. "Divisia Index Numbers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(6), pages 1017-1025, November.
    12. Gollop, Frank M. & Roberts, Mark J., 1979. "Firm interdependence in oligopolistic markets," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 313-331, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Borkowski, Susan C., 1997. "Factors affecting transfer pricing and income shifting (?) between Canadian and U.S. transnational corporations," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 391-415.
    2. Fraedrich, John P. & Bateman, Connie Rae, 1996. "Transfer pricing by multinational marketers: Risky business," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-22.

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