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Economic Effects of Regional Tax Havens

  • Mihir A. Desai
  • C. Fritz Foley
  • James R. Hines

How does the opportunity to use tax havens influence economic activity in nearby non-haven countries? Analysis of affiliate-level data indicates that American multinational firms use tax haven affiliates to reallocate taxable income away from high-tax jurisdictions and to defer home country taxes on foreign income. Ownership of tax haven affiliates is associated with reduced tax payments by nearby non-haven affiliates, the size of the effect being equivalent to a 20.8 percent tax rate reduction. The evidence also indicates that use of tax havens indirectly stimulates the growth of operations in non-haven countries in the same region. A one percent greater likelihood of establishing a tax haven affiliate is associated with 0.5 to 0.7 percent greater sales and investment growth by non-haven affiliates, implying a complementary relationship between haven and non-haven activity. The ability to avoid taxes by using tax haven affiliates therefore appears to facilitate economic activity in non-haven countries within regions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10806.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10806
Note: CF IFM PE
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  1. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines Jr., James R., 1999. ""Basket cases": Tax incentives and international joint venture participation by American multinational firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 379-402, March.
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  4. Evans, David S., 1986. "Tests of Alternative Theories of Firm Growth," Working Papers 86-36, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  8. 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.
  9. Roger H. Gordon & John D. Wilson, 2001. "Expenditure Competition," NBER Working Papers 8189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995 Elsevier.
  11. Devereux, Michael P. & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2002. "Do Countries Compete over Corporate Tax Rates?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3400, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Jeremy Edwards & Michael Keen, 1994. "Tax competition and Leviathon," IFS Working Papers W94/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Grubert, Harry, 1998. "Taxes and the division of foreign operating income among royalties, interest, dividends and retained earnings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 269-290, May.
  14. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2001. "Repatriation Taxes and Dividend Distortions," NBER Working Papers 8507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Assaf Razin & Joel Slemrod, 1990. "Taxation in the Global Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number razi90-1, August.
  16. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2002. "Chains of Ownership, Regional Tax Competition, and Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 9224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. James R. Hines, Jr. & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1990. "Coming Home To America: Dividend Repatriations By U.S. Multinationals," NBER Chapters, in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 161-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
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