IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Multinational Taxation and International Emissions Trading


  • Fischer, Carolyn

    () (Resources for the Future)


Many studies have shown that the activities of multinational corporations are quite sensitive to differences in income tax rates across countries. In this paper, I explore the interaction between multinational taxation and abatement activities under an international emissions permit trading scheme. Four types of plans are considered: (1) a single domestic permit system with international offsets; (2) separate national permit systems without trade; (3) separate national permit systems with limited offsets; and (4) an international permit trading system. For each plan, I model the incentives for the multinational firm to choose abatement activities at home and abroad and to transfer emissions credits between parent and subsidiary. Limits on trading across countries restrict efficiency gains from abatement, as is well known. But I show furthermore that if available offset opportunities are limited to actual abatement activities, those activities are more susceptible to distortions from incentives to shift taxable income. Transfer pricing rules can limit but not always eliminate these distortions. In a system of unlimited international trading, abatement is efficiently allocated across countries, but tax shifting can still be achieved through intra-firm transfer pricing. From the basis of efficiency for both environmental and tax policies, the best design is an international permit trading system with transparent, enforceable transfer pricing rules.

Suggested Citation

  • Fischer, Carolyn, 2001. "Multinational Taxation and International Emissions Trading," Discussion Papers dp-01-18, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-01-18

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joosung Jun, 1995. "The Impact of International Tax Rules on the Cost of Capital," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Multinational Corporations, pages 95-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James R. Hines, Jr., 1996. "Tax Policy and the Activities of Multinational Corporations," NBER Working Papers 5589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Grubert, Harry & Mutti, John, 1991. "Taxes, Tariffs and Transfer Pricing in Multinational Corporate Decision Making," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 285-293, May.
    4. Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1995. "Changing Views of the Corporate Income Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 279-94, June.
    5. Rosanne Altshuler, 1995. "Do Repatriation Taxes Matter? Evidence from the Tax Returns of U.S. Multinationals," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Multinational Corporations, pages 253-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. D’Amato, Alessio & Valentini, Edilio & Zoli, Mariangela, 2017. "Tradable quota taxation and market power," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 248-252.
    2. Costantini, Valeria & D'Amato, Alessio & Martini, Chiara & Tommasino, Maria Cristina & Valentini, Edilio & Zoli, Mariangela, 2013. "Taxing international emissions trading," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 609-621.
    3. Victoria Alexeeva & Niels Anger, 2016. "The globalization of the carbon market: Welfare and competitiveness effects of linking emissions trading schemes," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 21(6), pages 905-930, August.

    More about this item


    emission permits; transfer pricing; taxation; multinational corporations;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-01-18. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.