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International differences in corporate taxation, foreign direct investment and tax revenue


  • Øystein Bieltvedt Skeie


This paper assesses the redistribution of foreign direct investments (FDI) and tax revenues among countries due to multinationals’ response to international differences in corporate tax systems. The paper briefly reviews the literature on the tax sensitivity of FDI and uses a consensus estimate of this sensitivity in combination with bilateral FDI data to compute hypothetical bilateral FDI positions in the absence of tax rate differences. In a second step, tax revenue effects are estimated by assuming a conventional rate of return on investment. For most OECD countries, the effects of tax rate differentials on FDI positions range between -15% and 15% of current FDI positions. The calculated effects of taxes on FDI reflect real investments as well as tax planning behaviours and the methodology cannot distinguish between these two channels. The methodology only captures part of the tax planning activities of multinationals, since some of these activities are not reflected in the size of the FDI positions. Différences internationales de fiscalité des entreprises, investissements directs à l'étranger et recettes fiscales Ce document évalue la redistribution des investissements directs étrangers (IDE) et des recettes fiscales entre les pays en raison de la réponse des multinationales aux différences internationales entre les systèmes d'imposition des sociétés. Le document examine brièvement la littérature sur la sensibilité des IDE à la fiscalité et utilise une estimation du consensus de cette sensibilité en combinaison avec des données d'IDE bilatéraux pour calculer les positions d'IDE bilatéraux hypothétiques en l'absence de différences de taux d'imposition. Dans un deuxième temps, les effets sur les recettes fiscales sont estimés en supposant un taux conventionnel de retour sur investissement. Pour la plupart des pays de l'OCDE, les effets des écarts de taux d'imposition sur les stocks d'IDE se situent entre -15% et 15% des stocks d'IDE effectifs. Les effets calculés de la fiscalité sur les IDE reflètent des investissements réels ainsi que les comportements de planification fiscale et la méthodologie ne permet pas de distinguer entre ces deux canaux. La méthodologie ne capte qu'une partie des activités de planification fiscale des multinationales, puisque certaines de ces activités ne sont pas reflétées dans la taille des stocks d'IDE.

Suggested Citation

  • Øystein Bieltvedt Skeie, 2017. "International differences in corporate taxation, foreign direct investment and tax revenue," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1359, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1359-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Devereux, Michael P & Griffith, Rachel, 2003. "Evaluating Tax Policy for Location Decisions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(2), pages 107-126, March.
    2. Dana Hajkova & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Laura Vartia & Kwang-Yeol Yoo, 2006. "Taxation, Business Environment and FDI Location in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 502, OECD Publishing.
    3. Lars P. Feld & Jost H. Heckemeyer, 2011. "Fdi And Taxation: A Meta‐Study," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 233-272, April.
    4. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stephen S. Golub & Dana Hajkova & Daniel Mirza & Kwang-Yeol Yoo, 2003. "Policies and International Integration: Influences on Trade and Foreign Direct Investment," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 359, OECD Publishing.
    5. Jean-Marc Fournier, 2015. "The negative effect of regulatory divergence on foreign direct investment," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1268, OECD Publishing.
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    More about this item


    corporate tax; foreign direct investment; multinational tax planning;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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