IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

International Debt Shifting: Do Multinationals Shift Internal or External Debt?

  • Jarle M�en


    (Department of Finance and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics, 5045 Bergen, Norway)

  • Dirk Schindler


    (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

  • Guttorm Schjelderup


    (Department of Finance and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics, 5045 Bergen, Norway)

  • Julia Tropina


    (Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics, 5045 Bergen, Norway)

We examine the capital structures of multinational companies. Multinational companies can exploit the tax advantage of debt more aggressively than national companies by shifting debt from affiliates in low-tax countries to affiliates in high-tax countries. Previous papers have omitted either internal debt or external debt from the analysis. We are the first to model the companies’ choice between internal and external debt shifting, and show that it is optimal to use both types of debt in order to save taxes. Using a large panel of German multinationals, we find strong empirical support for our model. The estimated coefficients suggest that internal and external debt shifting are of about equal relevance.

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: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Konstanz in its series Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz with number 2011-40.

in new window

Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 07 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1140
Contact details of provider: Postal: D-78457 Konstanz
Phone: +49-7531-88-3713
Fax: +49-7531-88-3130
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

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. Fuest, Clemens & Hemmelgarn, Thomas, 2005. "Corporate tax policy, foreign firm ownership and thin capitalization," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 508-526, September.
  2. Francesca Barion & Raffaele Miniaci & Paolo Panteghini & Maria Laura Parisi, 2010. "Profit Shifting by Debt Financing in Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 2985, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
  4. John R. Graham, 2000. "How Big Are the Tax Benefits of Debt?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 1901-1941, October.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1995. " What Do We Know about Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1421-60, December.
  8. Jack Mintz & Michael Smart, 2001. "Income Shifting, Investment, and Tax Competition: Theory and Evidence from Provincial Taxation in Canada," CESifo Working Paper Series 554, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2005. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," NBER Working Papers 11280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert, 2001. "Repatriation Taxes, Repatriation Strategies and Multinational Financial Policy," NBER Working Papers 8144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Harry Huizinga & Luc Laeven & Gaëtan Nicodème, 2007. "Capital Structure and International Debt Shifting," Working Papers CEB 07-015.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. Aggarwal, Raj & Kyaw, NyoNyo A., 2008. "Internal capital networks as a source of MNC competitive advantage: Evidence from foreign subsidiary capital structure decisions," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 409-439, September.
  13. Dischinger, Matthias & Riedel, Nadine, 2009. "There's No Place Like Home: The Profitability Gap between Headquarters and their Foreign Subsidiaries," Discussion Papers in Economics 10976, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  14. Thiess Buettner & Georg Wamser, 2009. "Internal Debt and Multinationals' Profit Shifting - Empirical Evidence from Firm-Level Panel Data," Working Papers 0918, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  15. John R. Graham, 2003. "Taxes and Corporate Finance: A Review," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(4), pages 1075-1129.
  16. Thiess Buettner & Michael Overesch & Georg Wamser, 2011. "Tax Status and Tax Response Heterogeneity of Multinationals' Debt Finance," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 67(2), pages 103-122, June.
  17. Mintz, Jack M. & Weichenrieder, Alfons J., 2010. "The Indirect Side of Direct Investment: Multinational Company Finance and Taxation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262014491, June.
  18. Egger, Peter & Wamser, Georg, 2011. "The Impact of Controlled Foreign Company Legislation on Real Investments Abroad: A Two-dimensional Regression Discontinuity Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 8460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Martin Ruf & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2012. "The taxation of passive foreign investment: lessons from German experience," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1504-1528, November.
  20. Chowdhry, Bhagwan & Coval, Joshua D., 1998. "Internal financing of multinational subsidiaries: Debt vs. equity1," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 87-106, March.
  21. Murray Z. Frank & Vidhan K. Goyal, 2009. "Capital Structure Decisions: Which Factors Are Reliably Important?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 1-37, 03.
  22. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
  23. Gertner, Robert H & Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1994. "Internal versus External Capital Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1211-30, November.
  24. Büttner, Thiess & Overesch, Michael & Schreiber, Ulrich & Wamser, Georg, 2006. "Taxation and capital structure choice: evidence from a panel of German multinationals," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-67, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  25. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  26. Jules H. van Binsbergen & John Graham & Jie Yang, 2010. "The Cost of Debt," NBER Working Papers 16023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, 1988. "Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," NBER Working Papers 2632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Aggarwal, Raj & Kyaw, NyoNyo Aung, 2010. "Capital structure, dividend policy, and multinationality: Theory versus empirical evidence," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 140-150, March.
  29. Hovakimian, Armen & Hovakimian, Gayane & Tehranian, Hassan, 2004. "Determinants of target capital structure: The case of dual debt and equity issues," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 517-540, March.
  30. DeAngelo, Harry & Masulis, Ronald W., 1980. "Optimal capital structure under corporate and personal taxation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-29, March.
  31. Gopalan, Radhakrishnan & Nanda, Vikram & Seru, Amit, 2007. "Affiliated firms and financial support: Evidence from Indian business groups," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 759-795, December.
  32. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  33. Stewart C. Myers, 2001. "Capital Structure," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 81-102, Spring.
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:knz:dpteco:1140. 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: (Dr. Lisa Green)

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.