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Bargaining over the Avoidance of Double Taxation: Evidence from German Tax Treaties


  • Thomas Rixen
  • Peter Schwarz


Previous empirical studies have mainly analyzed tax competition, neglecting the role of tax cooperation in international taxation. We focus on German double taxation agreements (DTAs) and show for up to 45 tax treaties that the bargaining outcomes depend on investment asymmetries between the countries. A transition from a purely symmetrical country pair to a situation where foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in only one direction would increase on average the negotiated withholding tax rate by roughly 5 percentage points. We also show that bargaining over DTAs is not only about withholding tax rates, but also about the definition of a permanent establishment (PE). Our results are robust with regard to the concept of investment asymmetries (either in shares or levels) and different operationalizations (FDI stocks or sales).

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Rixen & Peter Schwarz, 2009. "Bargaining over the Avoidance of Double Taxation: Evidence from German Tax Treaties," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(4), pages 442-471, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200912)65:4_442:botaod_2.0.tx_2-i
    DOI: 10.1628/001522108X486589

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    Cited by:

    1. Petr Janský & Jan Láznička & Miroslav Palanský, 2021. "Tax treaties worldwide: Estimating elasticities and revenue foregone," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 359-401, May.
    2. Julia Braun & Martin Zagler, 2018. "The true art of the tax deal: Evidence on aid flows and bilateral double tax agreements," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(6), pages 1478-1507, June.
    3. Beer,Sebastian & Loeprick,Jan, 2018. "The Cost and Benefits of Tax Treaties with Investment Hubs : Findings from Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8623, The World Bank.
    4. Hearson, Martin, 2018. "When do developing countries negotiate away their corporate tax base?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87762, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Leibrecht, Markus & Rixen, Thomas, 2020. "Double Tax Avoidance and Tax Competition for Mobile Capital," SocArXiv dgw5k, Center for Open Science.
    6. Martin Hearson, 2017. "What makes countries negotiate away their corporate tax base?," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-122, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Sebastian Beer & Jan Loeprick, 2021. "Too high a price? Tax treaties with investment hubs in Sub-Saharan Africa," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(1), pages 113-153, February.
    8. Kunka Petkova & Andrzej Leszek Stasio & Martin Zagler, 2020. "Bilateral Tax Competition and Regional Spillovers in Tax Treaty Formation," JRC Working Papers on Taxation & Structural Reforms 2020-07, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    9. Hearson, Martin, 2018. "Transnational expertise and the expansion of the international tax regime: imposing ‘acceptable’ standards," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88351, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Jamroży Marcin & Janiszewska Magdalena, 2021. "Permanent establishment as a foreign direct investment in Poland: identification of tax barriers in the context of new tax development," International Journal of Management and Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of World Economy, vol. 57(2), pages 177-193, June.
    11. Martin Hearson, 2017. "Political role models, child marriage, and women’s autonomy over marriage in India," WIDER Working Paper Series 122, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item


    double taxation agreements; foreign direct investment; international tax cooperation; withholding tax;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies


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