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Tax Effects on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: Evidence from a Cross-Country Comparison

  • Joel Slemrod

This paper investigates how the tax system of the U.S. and the capital-exporting country combine to affect the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the U.S. First, using aggregate data, it corroborates earlier work suggesting that the U.S. effective tax rate does influence the amount of FDI financed by transfers of funds, but not the amount financed by retained earnings. The data are then disaggregated by major capital-exporting countries to see if, as theory would suggest, FDI from countries which exempt foreign-source income from taxation is more sensitive to U.S. tax rates than FDI from countries which attempt to tax foreign-source income. The data analysis does not reveal a clear differential responsiveness between these two groups of countries, suggesting either difficulties in accurately measuring effective tax rates or the availability of financial strategies which render the home country tax system immaterial in affecting the return on FDI.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3042.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3042.

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Date of creation: Jul 1989
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Publication status: published as Taxation in the Global Economy, edited by Assaf Razin and Joel Slemrod, pp. 79-117. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1990.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3042
Note: PE
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  1. Michael J. Boskin & William G. Gale, 1986. "New Results on the Effects of Tax Policy on the International Location of Investment," NBER Working Papers 1862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Don Fullerton & Marios Karayannis, 1987. "The Taxation of Income from Capital in the United States, 1980-86," NBER Working Papers 2478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and Investment: Some Econometric Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 243-286 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Auerbach, Alan J & Hines, James R, Jr, 1988. "Investment Tax Incentives and Frequent Tax Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 211-16, May.
  5. Young, Kan H., 1988. "The Effects of Taxes and Rates of Return on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(1), pages 109-21, March.
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