IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes


  • Kevin S. Markle
  • Douglas A. Shackelford


To our knowledge, this paper provides the most comprehensive analysis of firm-level corporate income taxes to date. We use publicly available financial statement information for 11,602 public corporations from 82 countries from 1988 to 2009 to estimate country-level effective tax rates (ETRs). We find that the location of a multinational and its subsidiaries substantially affects its worldwide ETR. Japanese firms always faced the highest ETRs. U.S. multinationals are among the highest taxed. Multinationals based in tax havens face the lowest taxes. We find that ETRs have been falling over the last two decades; however, the ordinal rank from high-tax countries to low-tax countries has changed little. We also find little difference between the ETRs of multinationals and domestic-only firms. Besides enhancing our knowledge about international taxes, these findings should provide some empirical underpinning for ongoing policy debates about the taxation of multinationals.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin S. Markle & Douglas A. Shackelford, 2011. "Cross-Country Comparisons of Corporate Income Taxes," NBER Working Papers 16839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16839
    Note: PE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David F. Bradford & Don Fullerton, 1981. "Pitfalls in the Construction and Use of Effective Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 0688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Shackelford, Douglas A. & Shevlin, Terry, 2001. "Empirical tax research in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 321-387, September.
    3. Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc & Nicodeme, Gaetan, 2008. "Capital structure and international debt shifting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 80-118, April.
    4. Patricia Born & W. Viscusi, 2006. "The catastrophic effects of natural disasters on insurance markets," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 55-72, September.
    5. Douglas Shackelford & Joel Slemrod & James Sallee, 2011. "Financial reporting, tax, and real decisions: toward a unifying framework," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(4), pages 461-494, August.
    6. Julie H. Collins & Douglas A. Shackelford, 2003. "Do U.S. Multinationals Face Different Tax Burdens than Other Companies?," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 17, pages 141-168 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Collins, Julie H. & Shackelford, Douglas A., 1997. "Global organizations and taxes: An analysis of the dividend, interest, royalty, and management fee payments between U.S. multinationals' foreign affiliates," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 151-173, December.
    8. Hanlon, Michelle & Heitzman, Shane, 2010. "A review of tax research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 127-178, December.
    9. 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.
    10. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith, 1998. "The Taxation of Discrete Investment Choices," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 98/08, Department of Economics, Keele University.
    11. Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2004. "What has been the tax competition experience of the past 20 years?," IFS Working Papers W04/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    12. Graham, John R. & Raedy, Jana S. & Shackelford, Douglas A., 2012. "Research in accounting for income taxes," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 412-434.
    13. Roger Gordon & Laura Kalambokidis & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "A New Summary Measure of the Effective Tax Rate on Investment," NBER Working Papers 9535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Keller, Sara & Schanz, Deborah, 2013. "Measuring tax attractiveness across countries," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 143, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    2. Jaafar, Aziz & Thornton, John, 2015. "Tax Havens and Effective Tax Rates: An Analysis of Private versus Public European Firms," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 435-457.
    3. Keller, Sara & Schanz, Deborah, 2013. "Tax attractiveness and the location of German-controlled subsidiaries," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 142, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    4. Anastasia Kraft, 2014. "What Really Affects German Firms' Effective Tax Rate?," International Journal of Financial Research, International Journal of Financial Research, Sciedu Press, vol. 5(3), pages 1-19, July.
    5. Giorgia Maffini, 2012. "Territoriality, Worldwide Principle, and Competitiveness of Multinationals: A Firm-level Analysis of Tax Burdens," Working Papers 1210, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    6. Brender,Anton & Pisani, Florence & Gagna, Emile, 2012. "The Sovereign Debt Crisis: Placing a curb on growth," CEPS Papers 6951, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    7. repec:col:000093:012622 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Schanz, Deborah & Feller, Anna, 2014. "Wieso Deutschland (fast) keine BEPS-Bekämpfung braucht," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 171, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    9. Estelle P. Dauchy & Christopher Balding, 2013. "Asymmetric Trade Estimator in Modified Gravity: Corporate Tax Rates and Trade in OECD Countries," Working Papers w0200, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting


    Access and download statistics


    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:16839. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.