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Taxation and the Sources of Growth: Estimates from United States Multinational Corporations

  • Jason G. Cummins

Capital income tax policy affects investment by the parent and affiliates of multinational corporations (MNCs). In a model in which technical advances are embodied in new capital, investment will translate directly into productivity gains. In this paper, I use this framework to guide the growth accounting decomposition and clarify the relationship between capital growth and overall firm growth. A semiparametric technique is used to correct for the usual bias that afflicts production function parameter estimates. These estimates are used to analyze the sources of MNC's growth. Three findings stand out: (1) growth in parent and affiliate capital are the most important sources of growth, with FDI contributing more to growth than the sum of the contributions of parent and affiliate employment, and materials; (2) productivity has boomed since 1992, due to productivity growth in MNCs with Canadian affiliates; (3) the investment elasticity of productivity growth is large and adjustment costs of investment are small, suggesting that changes in the after-tax price of capital result in robust investment which translates directly into productivity gains.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6533.

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Date of creation: Apr 1998
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Publication status: published as Jason G. Cummins, 2000. "Taxation and the Sources of Growth: Estimates from U.S. Multinational Corporations," NBER Chapters, in: International Taxation and Multinational Activity, pages 231-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6533
Note: PE
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  1. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & Stephen D. Oliner, 1999. "Investment behavior, observable expectations, and internal funds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-47, February.
  3. Cummins, J.G. & Hassett, K.A. & Hubbard, R.G., 1995. "tax Reforms and Investment: A Cross-Country Comparison," Working Papers 95-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Grubb, David, 1986. "Raw Materials, Profits, and the Productivity Slowdown: Some Doubts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 175-84, February.
  5. Jason G. Cummins & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "The Tax Sensitivity of Foreign Direct Investment: Evidence from Firm-Level Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 4703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tor Jakob Klette & Zvi Griliches, 1992. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Engogenous," NBER Working Papers 4026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Charles R. Hulten, 1992. "Growth Accounting When Technical Change is Embodied in Capital," NBER Working Papers 3971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jorgenson, Dale W., 1966. "The Embodiment Hypothesis," Scholarly Articles 3403063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Hulten, Charles R, 1978. "Growth Accounting with Intermediate Inputs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 511-18, October.
  10. Fumio Hayashi & Tohru Inoue, 1990. "The Relation Between Firm Growth and Q with Multiple Capital Goods: Theory and Evidence from Panel Data on Japanese Firms," NBER Working Papers 3326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  12. Hulten, Charles R, 1992. "Growth Accounting When Technical Change Is Embodied in Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 964-80, September.
  13. Baily, Martin Neil, 1986. "Productivity Growth and Materials Use in U.S. Manufacturing [Productivity and the Services of Capital and Labor]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 185-95, February.
  14. Mundlak, Yair, 1996. "Production Function Estimation: Reviving the Primal," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 431-38, March.
  15. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," NBER Working Papers 5067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Leamer, Edward E, 1988. "The Sensitivity of International Comparisons of Capital Stock Measures to Different "Real" Exchange Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 479-83, May.
  17. Rosanne Altshuler & Jason G. Cummins, . "Tax Policy and the Dynamic Demand for Domestic and Foreign Capital by Multinational Corporations," Computing in Economics and Finance 1997 174, Society for Computational Economics.
  18. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  19. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1966. "The Embodiment Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 1.
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