IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Corporate taxes and the location of intangible assets within multinational firms

  • Dischinger, Matthias
  • Riedel, Nadine

Intangible assets, like patents and trademarks, are increasingly seen as the key to competitive success and as the drivers of corporate profit. Moreover, they constitute a major source of profit shifting opportunities in multinational enterprises (MNEs) due to a highly intransparent transfer pricing process. This paper argues that, for both reasons, MNEs have an incentive to locate intangible property at affiliates with a relatively low corporate tax rate. Using panel data on European MNEs and controlling for unobserved time-constant heterogeneity between affiliates, we find that the lower a subsidiary's corporate tax rate relative to other affiliates of the multinational group the higher is its level of intangible asset investment. This effect is statistically and economically significant, even after controlling for subsidiary size and accounting for a dynamic intangible investment pattern.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 7-8 (August)
Pages: 691-707

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7-8:p:691-707
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2002. "Optimal Currency Areas," NBER Working Papers 9072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Optimal Currency Areas," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 301-356 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dischinger, Matthias & Riedel, Nadine, 2008. "Corporate Taxes, Profit Shifting and the Location of Intangibles within Multinational Firms," Discussion Papers in Economics 4450, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Haufler, Andreas & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2000. "Corporate Tax Systems and Cross Country Profit Shifting," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 306-25, April.
  5. Wilfred J. Ethier & James R. Markusen, 1991. "Multinational Firms, Technology Diffusion and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hilary, Gilles & Lennox, Clive, 2005. "The credibility of self-regulation: Evidence from the accounting profession's peer review program," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-3), pages 211-229, December.
  7. Harry Huizinga & Luc Laeven, 2006. "International profit shifting within multinationals: a multi-country perspective," European Economy - Economic Papers 260, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  8. Karkinsky, Tom & Riedel, Nadine, 2012. "Corporate taxation and the choice of patent location within multinational firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 176-185.
  9. John W. Budd & Jozef Konings & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Wages and International Rent Sharing in Multinational Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 73-84, February.
  10. Alfons Weichenrieder, 2009. "Profit shifting in the EU: evidence from Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 281-297, June.
  11. Schreiber, Ulrich & Overesch, Michael & Büttner, Thiess & Wamser, Georg, 2006. "The Impact of Thin-Capitalization Rules on Multinationals? Financing and Investment Decisions," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-68, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Dischinger, Matthias, 2007. "Profit Shifting by Multinationals: Indirect Evidence from European Micro Data," Discussion Papers in Economics 2029, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Harris, D. & Morck, R. & Slemrod, J., 1991. "Income Shifting in U.S. Multinational Corporations," Working Papers 287, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  14. Hines, J.R. & Rice, E.M., 1990. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens And American Business," Papers 56, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  15. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 1999. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Valeria Gattai, 2005. "Dissipation of Knowledge and the Boundaries of the Multinational Enterprise," Working Papers 2005.121, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  17. Valeria Gattai, 2005. "Firm’s Intangible Assets and Multinational Activity: Joint-Venture Versus FDI," Working Papers 2005.122, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  18. Robert E. Hall, 2000. "The stock market and capital accumulation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Apr.
  19. Saggi, Kamal, 1996. "Entry into a Foreign Market: Foreign Direct Investment versus Licensing," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 99-104, February.
  20. European Commission, 2006. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2006 edition," Taxation trends 2006, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  21. 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.
  22. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  23. Saggi, Kamal, 1999. "Foreign Direct Investment, Licensing, and Incentives for Innovation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 699-714, November.
  24. Matthias Dischinger & Nadine Riedel, 2009. "There's no Place like Home: The Profitability Gap between Headquarters and their Foreign Subsidiaries," CESifo Working Paper Series 2866, CESifo Group Munich.
  25. Luigi Zingales, 2000. "In Search of New Foundations," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1623-1653, 08.
  26. Plassmann, Florenz & Tideman, T Nicolaus, 2001. "Does the Right to Carry Concealed Handguns Deter Countable Crimes? Only a Count Analysis Can Say," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 771-98, October.
  27. Qing Hong & Michael Smart, 2006. "In praise of tax havens: International tax planning and foreign direct investment," Working Papers tecipa-265, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  28. James R. Markusen, 1998. "Contracts, Intellectual Property Rights, and Multinational Investment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 6448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2006. "The demand for tax haven operations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 513-531, February.
  30. Fosfuri, Andrea, 2000. "Patent protection, imitation and the mode of technology transfer," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 1129-1149, October.
  31. Harry Grubert & Joel Slemrod, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Investment and Income Shifting to Puerto Rico," NBER Working Papers 4869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
  33. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  34. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  35. John H. Mutti & Harry Grubert, 2007. "The Effect of Taxes on Royalties and the Migration of Intangible Assets Abroad," NBER Working Papers 13248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, June.
  37. Edmans, Alex, 2011. "Does the stock market fully value intangibles? Employee satisfaction and equity prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 621-640, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7-8:p:691-707. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.