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Offshore Profit Shifting and Domestic Productivity Measurement

Author

Listed:
  • Fatih Guvenen
  • Raymond J. Mataloni, Jr.
  • Dylan G. Rassier
  • Kim J. Ruhl

Abstract

Official statistics display a significant slowdown in U.S. aggregate productivity growth that begins in 2004. We show how offshore profit shifting by U.S. multinational enterprises affects GDP and, thus, productivity measurement. Under international statistical guidelines, profit shifting causes part of U.S. production generated by multinationals to be excluded from official measures of U.S. production. Profit shifting has increased significantly since the mid-1990s, resulting in lower measures of U.S. aggregate productivity growth. We construct an alternative measure of value added that adjusts for profit shifting. The adjustments raise aggregate productivity growth rates by 0.09 percent annually for 1994-2004, 0.24 percent annually for 2004-2008, and lowers annual aggregate productivity growth rates by 0.09 percent after 2008. Our adjustments mitigate, but do not eliminate, the measured productivity slowdown. The adjustments are especially large in R&D-intensive industries, which most likely produce intangible assets that facilitate profit shifting. The adjustments boost value added in these industries by as much as 8 percent in the mid-2000s.

Suggested Citation

  • Fatih Guvenen & Raymond J. Mataloni, Jr. & Dylan G. Rassier & Kim J. Ruhl, 2017. "Offshore Profit Shifting and Domestic Productivity Measurement," NBER Working Papers 23324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23324
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anand, Bharat N. & Sansing, Richard, 2000. "The Weighting Game: Formula Apportionment as an Instrument of Public Policy," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 2), pages 183-200, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Fitzgerald, 2018. "National Accounts for a Global Economy: the Case of Ireland," Trinity Economics Papers tep0418, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics, revised May 2018.
    2. Chen, Peter & Karabarbounis, Loukas & Neiman, Brent, 2017. "The global rise of corporate saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 1-19.
    3. Robert J. Gordon, 2018. "Why Has Economic Growth Slowed When Innovation Appears to be Accelerating?," NBER Working Papers 24554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Erik Brynjolfsson & Daniel Rock & Chad Syverson, 2018. "Artificial Intelligence and the Modern Productivity Paradox: A Clash of Expectations and Statistics," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Dylan G. Rassier, 2017. "Intangible assets and transactions within multinational enterprises: implications for national economic accounts," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 38, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
    6. Alexander Murray, 2017. "What Explains the Post-2004 U.S.Productivity Slowdown?," CSLS Research Reports 2017-05, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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