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Taxes and the Form of Ownership of Foreign Corporate Equity

In: Studies in International Taxation

  • Roger H. Gordon
  • Joosung Jun
  • Joel Slemrod

Investors can achieve international diversification in their portfolios not only through purchasing foreign equity directly but also through investing in domestic firms which then invest abroad. Yet these alternative approaches are taxed very differently. A number of countries have also imposed various forms of capital controls restricting direct purchases of foreign equity. This paper estimates the degree to which these tax and nontax factors have affected the relative use of these two alternative methods of international diversification, using data on investment in the U.S. by investors from each of ten other countries during the period 1980-1989. While the composition of equity flows differs dramatically across countries, taxes do not appear to play an important role in the data in explaining this variation. Part of the explanation appears to be that tax distortions adjust endogenously to avoid large scale portfolio investments abroad. With the increasing integration of capital markets and the easing of capital controls in many countries, we have seen and expect to continue to see reductions in the tax distortions affecting the form of international capital flows.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Alberto Giovannini & R. Glenn Hubbard & Joel Slemrod, 1993. "Studies in International Taxation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number giov93-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7992.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7992
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.orgEmail:


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    1. James R. Hines, Jr. & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1990. "Coming Home to America: Dividend Repatriations by U.S. Multinationals," NBER Working Papers 2931, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    4. Hines Jr., J.R., 1991. "Dividends And Profits: Some Unsubtle Foreign Influences," Papers 77, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
    5. Assaf Razin & Joel Slemrod, 1990. "Taxation in the Global Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number razi90-1, October.
    6. Feldstein, Martin, 1980. "Inflation and the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 839-47, December.
    7. Gordon, Roger H, 1986. "Taxation of Investment and Savings in a World Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1086-1102, December.
    8. Joel Slemrod, 1989. "Tax Effects on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: Evidence from a Cross-Country Comparison," NBER Working Papers 3042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Roger H. Gordon & Joel Slemrod, 1988. "Do We Collect Any Revenue from Taxing Capital Income?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy: Volume 2, pages 89-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Harry Grubert & Timothy Goodspeed & Deborah L. Swenson, 1993. "Explaining the Low Taxable Income of Foreign-Controlled Companies in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in International Taxation, pages 237-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1984. "Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 650-59, September.
    12. Randall Morck, 2006. "Corporations," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2101, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    13. Swenson, Deborah L., 1994. "The impact of U.S. tax reform on foreign direct investment in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 243-266, June.
    14. Sudipto Bhattacharya, 1979. "Imperfect Information, Dividend Policy, and "The Bird in the Hand" Fallacy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 259-270, Spring.
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