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Corporate Taxes and Internal Borrowing within Multinational Firms

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  • Peter Egger
  • Christian Keuschnigg
  • Valeria Merlo
  • Georg Wamser

Abstract

This paper develops a theoretical model of multinational firms with an internal capital market. Main reasons for the emergence of such a market are tax avoidance through debt shifting and the existence of institutional weaknesses and financial frictions across host countries. The model serves to derive hypotheses regarding the role of local versus foreign characteristics such as profit tax rates, lack of institutional quality, financial underdevelopment, and productivity for internal debt at the level of a given foreign affiliate. The paper assesses hypotheses in a panel data-set covering the universe of German multinational firms and their internal borrowing. Numerous novel insights are gained. For instance, the tax-sensitivity found in this paper is many times higher than previous research suggests. This accrues mainly to three things: the consideration of the boundedness of the internal debt ratio as a dependent variable in comparison to its treatment as an unbounded variable in most of the previous work; the coverage of all (small and large) multinationals here rather than a focus on large units in previous work; and the inclusion of endogenous characteristics in other countries multinationals are invested in (due to endogenous weights) while previous work did not consider such effects at all or assumed them to be exogenous. Moreover, local and foreign (at other locations of a given affiliate) market conditions matter more or less symmetrically and in the opposite direction. There is a nonlinear trade-off between institutional quality or financial development on the one hand and higher profit tax rates on the other hand, and the strength of this trade-off depends on the characteristics of one location relative to the other ones a multinational firm has affiliates (or the headquarters) in.

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  • Peter Egger & Christian Keuschnigg & Valeria Merlo & Georg Wamser, 2012. "Corporate Taxes and Internal Borrowing within Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 18415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18415 Note: ITI PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mardan, Mohammed, 2017. "Why countries differ in thin capitalization rules: The role of financial development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-14.
    2. Florian Chatagny & Marko Koethenbuerger & Michael Stimmelmayr, 2017. "Introducing an IP license box in Switzerland: quantifying the effects," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(6), pages 927-961, December.
    3. Haufler, Andreas & Mardan, Mohammed & Schindler, Dirk, 2016. "Optimal Policies against Profit Shifting: The Role of Controlled-Foreign-Company Rules," Discussion Papers in Economics 27745, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Overesch Michael, 2016. "Steuervermeidung multinationaler Unternehmen," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 17(2), pages 129-143, July.
    5. Egger, Peter H. & Merlo, Valeria & Wamser, Georg, 2014. "Unobserved tax avoidance and the tax elasticity of FDI," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 1-18.
    6. Koethenbuerger, Marko & Stimmelmayr, Michael, 2016. "Taxing multinationals in the presence of internal capital markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 58-71.
    7. Peter Egger & Marko Koethenbuerger, 2016. "Hosting multinationals: Economic and fiscal implications," Aussenwirtschaft, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economics Research, vol. 67(01), pages 45-69, February.
    8. Peter Egger & Michael Stimmelmayr, 2017. "Taxation and the Multinational Firm," CESifo Working Paper Series 6384, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2015:i:4:p:19151968 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Jarkko Harju & Ilpo Kauppinen & Olli Ropponen, 2017. "Firm Responses to an Interest Barrier: Empirical Evidence," EconPol Working Paper 3, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    11. Goldbach, Stefan & Nagengast, Arne J. & Steinmüller, Elias & Wamser, Georg, 2017. "The effect of investing abroad on investment at home: On the role of technology, tax savings, and internal capital markets," Discussion Papers 14/2017, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    12. Ledyaeva, Svetlana & Karhunen, Päivi & Kosonen, Riitta, 2013. "Birds of a feather: Evidence on commonality of corruption and democracy in the origin and location of foreign investment in Russian regions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 1-25.
    13. Valeria Merlo & Georg Wamser, 2015. "Debt Shifting and Thin-capitalization Rules," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(4), pages 27-31, 01.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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