IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/inecon/v89y2013i2p432-440.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The arm's length principle and distortions to multinational firm organization

Author

Listed:
  • Keuschnigg, Christian
  • Devereux, Michael P.

Abstract

To prevent profit shifting by manipulation of transfer prices, tax authorities typically apply the arm's length principle in corporate taxation and use comparable market prices to ‘correctly’ assess the value of intracompany trade and royalty income of multinationals. We develop a model of firms subject to financing frictions and offshoring of intermediate inputs. We find that arm's length prices systematically differ from prices set by independent agents. Application of the principle distorts multinational activity by reducing debt capacity and investment of foreign affiliates. Although it raises tax revenue and welfare in the headquarter country, welfare losses may be larger in the subsidiary location, leading to a loss in world welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Keuschnigg, Christian & Devereux, Michael P., 2013. "The arm's length principle and distortions to multinational firm organization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 432-440.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:89:y:2013:i:2:p:432-440
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2012.08.007
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022199612001523
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jean-Thomas Bernard & Robert Weiner, 1990. "Multinational Corporations, Transfer Prices, and Taxes: Evidence from the U.S.Petroleum Industry," NBER Chapters,in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 123-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc & Nicodeme, Gaetan, 2008. "Capital structure and international debt shifting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 80-118, April.
    3. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc, 2008. "International profit shifting within multinationals: A multi-country perspective," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1164-1182, June.
    4. Elitzur, Ramy & Mintz, Jack, 1996. "Transfer pricing rules and corporate tax competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 401-422, June.
    5. Haufler, Andreas & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2000. "Corporate Tax Systems and Cross Country Profit Shifting," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 306-325, April.
    6. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 589-630, September.
    7. Swenson, Deborah L., 2001. "Tax Reforms and Evidence of Transfer Pricing," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(1), pages 7-26, March.
    8. Stein, Jeremy C, 1997. " Internal Capital Markets and the Competition for Corporate Resources," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 111-133, March.
    9. Lamont, Owen, 1997. " Cash Flow and Investment: Evidence from Internal Capital Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 83-109, March.
    10. 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.
    11. Robert H. Gertner & David S. Scharfstein & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "Internal versus External Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 4776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. Søren Bo Nielsen & Pascalis Raimondos-Møller & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2008. "Taxes and Decision Rights in Multinationals," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(2), pages 245-258, April.
    14. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Transfer Pricing and Organizational Form," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 201-228, Fall.
    15. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and The Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-691.
    16. Egger, Peter & Eggert, Wolfgang & Keuschnigg, Christian & Winner, Hannes, 2010. "Corporate taxation, debt financing and foreign-plant ownership," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 96-107, January.
    17. Pol Antràs & Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley, 2009. "Multinational Firms, FDI Flows, and Imperfect Capital Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1171-1219.
    18. Robert H. Gertner & David S. Scharfstein & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "Internal versus External Capital Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1211-1230.
    19. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, 2004. "A Multinational Perspective on Capital Structure Choice and Internal Capital Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(6), pages 2451-2487, December.
    20. Bartelsman, Eric J. & Beetsma, Roel M. W. J., 2003. "Why pay more? Corporate tax avoidance through transfer pricing in OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2225-2252, September.
    21. Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Corporate Governance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 1-35, January.
    22. 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 285-293, May.
    23. Kalina Manova & Shang-Jin Wei & Zhiwei Zhang, 2015. "Firm Exports and Multinational Activity Under Credit Constraints," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 574-588, July.
    24. Charles E. Hyde & Chongwoo Choe, 2005. "Keeping Two Sets of Books: The Relationship Between Tax and Incentive Transfer Prices," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 165-186, March.
    25. 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.
    26. 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.
    27. Manova, Kalina, 2008. "Credit constraints, equity market liberalizations and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 33-47, September.
    28. Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Theory of Corporate Finance," Post-Print hal-00173191, HAL.
    29. Thomas Gresik & Petter Osmundsen, 2008. "Transfer pricing in vertically integrated industries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(3), pages 231-255, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Mardan, Mohammed, 2017. "Why countries differ in thin capitalization rules: The role of financial development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-14.
    2. Sotiris Blanas & Adnan Seric, 2017. "Knowledge Transfer and Intra-Firm Trade," Working Papers 178612931, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    3. Haufler, Andreas & Mardan, Mohammed & Schindler, Dirk, 2016. "Optimal Policies against Profit Shifting: The Role of Controlled-Foreign-Company Rules," Discussion Papers in Economics 27745, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Ronald B. Davies & Julien Martin & Mathieu Parenti & Farid Toubal, 2014. "Knocking on Tax Haven's Door: Multinational Firms and Transfer Pricing," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp464, IIIS.
    5. Gresik, Thomas A. & Schindler, Dirk & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2015. "The Effect of Tax Havens on Host Country Welfare," Discussion Papers 2015/19, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    6. Keuschnigg, Christian & Loretz, Simon & Winner, Hannes, 2014. "Tax Competition and Tax Coordination in the European Union: A Survey," Economics Working Paper Series 1427, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    7. Michael P. Devereux & John Vella, 2015. "Are We Heading towards a Corporate Tax System Fit for the 21st Century?," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(4), pages 03-07, January.
    8. Johannes Becker & Ronald B. Davies, 2014. "A Negotiation-Based Model of Tax-Induced Transfer Pricing," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp451, IIIS.
    9. 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.
    10. repec:tpr:restat:v:100:y:2018:i:1:p:120-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2015:i:4:p:19149986 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Hayato Kato & Hirofumi Okoshi, 2017. "Production Location of Multinational Firms under Transfer Pricing: The Impact of the Arm's Length Principle," Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series 2017-016, Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University.
    13. Sotiris Blanas & Adnan Seric, 2017. "Determinants of Intra-Firm Trade," Working Papers 178118175, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    14. 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.
    15. Ioana NEACSU & Liliana FELEAGA, 2017. "Evolutions and tendencies regarding the Romanian transfer pricing legislation: is there a need for change?," The Audit Financiar journal, Chamber of Financial Auditors of Romania, vol. 15(145), pages 1-65, February.
    16. Egger, Peter & Seidel, Tobias, 2013. "Corporate taxes and intra-firm trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 225-242.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate tax; Transfer prices; Arm's length principle; Corporate finance;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:89:y:2013:i:2:p:432-440. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.