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Tax-avoidance strategies of American multinationals: an empirical analysis


  • Peter Schwarz

    (Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, Wiesbaden, Germany)


This paper analyzes the opportunities of American multinationals to reallocate their profits into tax havens. In contrast to previous papers, a comprehensive look on the profit-shifting process is undertaken by proposing three different tests. Multinationals in high-tax countries have a lower equity ratio than affiliates in tax havens, indicating that income is shifted by extensively financing subsidiaries in high-tax countries with debt. Furthermore, the share of retained earnings is lower in high-tax countries owing to the unattractiveness of tax deferral. When testing for the outcomes of profit shifting, the results show that the pre-tax profitability of American multinationals is higher in tax havens. This relationship is consistent with the opportunities of multinationals to shift income outside high-tax jurisdictions. Finally, the paper shows that profit shifting largely takes place into tax havens, whereas other countries do not benefit from profit-shifting activities. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Peter Schwarz, 2009. "Tax-avoidance strategies of American multinationals: an empirical analysis," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(8), pages 539-549.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:30:y:2009:i:8:p:539-549 DOI: 10.1002/mde.1471

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Castillo Murciego, Ángela & López-Laborda, Julio, 2017. "Are Spanish companies involved in profit shifting? Consequences in terms of tax revenues," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 11, pages 1-47.
    2. Heckemeyer, Jost H. & Overesch, Michael, 2013. "Multinationals' profit response to tax differentials: Effect size and shifting channels," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-045, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Alexander Rogach & Tetyana Balyuk, 2012. "Intra-Firm Transactions of TNCs in Ukraine: Empirical Investigation," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 18(3), pages 586-600, March.

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