IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/13313.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Returns on FDI: Does the U.S. Really Do Better?

Author

Listed:
  • Barry Bosworth
  • Susan M. Collins
  • Gabriel Chodorow-Reich

Abstract

According to the U.S. external accounts, U.S. investors earn a significantly higher rate of return on their foreign investments than foreigners earn in the United States. This continued strong performance has produced a positive net investment income balance despite the deterioration in the U.S. net asset position in recent years. We examine the major competing explanations for the apparent differential between the rates of return. In particular, almost the entire difference occurs in FDI, where American firms operating abroad appear to earn a persistently higher return than that earned by foreign firms operating in the U.S. We first review a number of explanations in the literature for this differential. We then offer some new evidence on the role of income shifting between jurisdictions with varying rates of taxation. Using country-specific income and tax data, we find that about one-third of the excess return earned by U.S. corporations abroad can be explained by firms reporting "extra" income in low tax jurisdictions of their affiliates.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins & Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, 2007. "Returns on FDI: Does the U.S. Really Do Better?," NBER Working Papers 13313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13313
    Note: IFM PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13313.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2010. "Technology Capital and the US Current Account," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1493-1522, September.
    2. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Transfer Pricing by U.S.-Based Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 12493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Goodspeed, T-J & White, A-D, 1996. "International taxation," Papers 96-11, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
    4. Robert E. Lipsey, 2009. "Measuring International Trade in Services," NBER Chapters,in: International Trade in Services and Intangibles in the Era of Globalization, pages 27-70 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2007. "The stability of large external imbalances: the role of returns differentials," International Finance Discussion Papers 894, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. John Kitchen, 2007. "Sharecroppers or Shrewd Capitalists? Projections of the US Current Account, International Income Flows, and Net International Debt," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 1036-1061, November.
    8. Cedric Tille, 2003. "The impact of exchange rate movements on U.S. foreign debt," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Jan).
    9. Ricardo Hausmann & Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Global Imbalances or Bad Accounting? The Missing Dark Matter in the Wealth of Nations," CID Working Papers 124, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    10. 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.
    11. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: U.S. External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Chapters,in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 11-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. William R. Cline, 2005. "United States as a Debtor Nation, The," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 3993.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-Border Returns Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1495-1530.
    2. Tarek A. Hassan, 2013. "Country Size, Currency Unions, and International Asset Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(6), pages 2269-2308, December.
    3. Tarek Alexander Hassan, 2010. "Country Size, Currency Areas, and International Asset Returns," 2010 Meeting Papers 365, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Curcuru, Stephanie E. & Thomas, Charles P. & Warnock, Francis E., 2013. "On returns differentials," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 1-25.
    5. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:154:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. McCauley, Robert N., 2015. "Does the US dollar confer an exorbitant privilege?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-14.
    7. Habib, Maurizio Michael, 2010. "Excess returns on net foreign assets: the exorbitant privilege from a global perspective," Working Paper Series 1158, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13313. 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: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.