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Profit Shifting by Multinationals and the Ownership Share: Evidence from European Micro Data

  • Dischinger, Matthias
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    We provide indirect empirical evidence of profit shifting behavior by multinational enterprises (MNEs) employing a panel study for the years 1995 to 2005, while controlling for unobservable fixed firm effects. We use a large micro database of European MNEs which includes detailed accounting and ownership information. Our results show a strongly negative relationship between an affiliated company's statutory corporate tax rate difference to its foreign parent firm and the affiliate's gross profits. Quantitatively, a 10 percentage points decrease in the tax rate of the affiliate (relative to the parent) increases its pre-tax profitability by 7%, other things being equal. Various robustness checks support this profit shifting inference. Furthermore, we provide evidence that a higher parent's ownership share of its subsidiary leads to intensified shifting activities between these two affiliates.

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    Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 5661.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:5661
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    1. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
    2. Andrew Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter Schott, 2008. "Transfer Pricing by U.S.-Based Multinational Firms," Working Papers 08-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Budd, John W. & Konings, Jozef & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2002. "Wages and International Rent Sharing in Multinational Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 560, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. 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.
    5. Clemens Fuest, 2008. "The European Commission´s Proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base," Working Papers 0823, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    6. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2007. "Quality versus Quantity – The Composition Effect of Corporate Taxation on Foreign Direct Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2126, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Swenson, Deborah L., 2001. "Tax Reforms and Evidence of Transfer Pricing," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 7-26, March.
    8. Alfons Weichenrieder, 2009. "Profit shifting in the EU: evidence from Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 281-297, June.
    9. Grubert, Harry, 2003. "Intangible Income, Intercompany Transactions, Income Shifting, and the Choice of Location," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(1), pages 221-42, March.
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