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The Role of Headquarters Firms in Multinational Profit Shifting Strategies

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  • Dischinger, Matthias
  • Riedel, Nadine

Abstract

This paper stresses the special role of multinational headquarters in corporate profit shifting strategies. Using a large panel of European firms, we show that multinational enterprises (MNEs) are reluctant to shift profits away from their headquarters even if these are located in high-tax countries. Thus, shifting activities in response to corporate tax rate differentials between parents and subsidiaries are found to be significantly larger if the parent observes a lower corporate tax rate than its subsidiary and profit is thus shifted towards the headquarters firm. This result is in line with recent empirical evidence suggesting that MNEs bias the location of profits and highly profitable assets in favor of the headquarters location (for agency cost reasons among others).

Suggested Citation

  • Dischinger, Matthias & Riedel, Nadine, 2010. "The Role of Headquarters Firms in Multinational Profit Shifting Strategies," Discussion Papers in Economics 11352, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:11352
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    File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11352/1/dischinger_riedel_2010_HQs_PS.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dischinger, Matthias, 2008. "Profit Shifting by Multinationals and the Ownership Share: Evidence from European Micro Data," Discussion Papers in Economics 5661, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Clausing, Kimberly A., 2003. "Tax-motivated transfer pricing and US intrafirm trade prices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2207-2223, September.
    3. Thiess Büttner & Georg Wamser, 2007. "Intercompany Loans and Profit Shifting – Evidence from Company-Level Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 1959, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Grubert, Harry, 2003. "Intangible Income, Intercompany Transactions, Income Shifting, and the Choice of Location," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(1), pages 221-242, March.
    5. Schreiber, Ulrich & Overesch, Michael & Büttner, Thiess & Wamser, Georg, 2006. "The Impact of Thin-Capitalization Rules on Multinationals? Financing and Investment Decisions," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-068, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Alfons Weichenrieder, 2009. "Profit shifting in the EU: evidence from Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(3), pages 281-297, June.
    7. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc, 2008. "International profit shifting within multinationals: A multi-country perspective," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1164-1182, June.
    8. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    9. Michael P Devereux, 2007. "The Impact of Taxation on the Location of Capital, Firms and Profit: a Survey of Empirical Evidence," Working Papers 0702, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Seiler, 2012. "The Data Sets of the LMU-ifo Economics & Business Data Center – A Guide for Researchers," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 132(4), pages 609-618.
    2. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Riedel, Nadine, 2013. "Earnings shocks and tax-motivated income-shifting: Evidence from European multinationals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 95-107.
    3. Nicolay, Katharina & Nusser, Hannah & Pfeiffer, Olena, 2017. "On the interdependency of profit shifting channels and the effectiveness of anti-avoidance legislation," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-066, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Sebastian Beer & Jan Loeprick, 2015. "Profit shifting: drivers of transfer (mis)pricing and the potential of countermeasures," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 426-451, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    multinational firm; profit shifting; headquarters location;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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