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Multinational Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital: The Many Roads Home

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  • Rosanne Altshuler

    () (Rutgers University, Department of Economics)

  • Harry Grubert

    () (U.S. Treasury Department)

Abstract

The previous literature on multinational financial policy has, for the most part, been restricted to the choice between dividend distributions to the parent and further real investment in the foreign affiliate. We argue that investment in financial assets such as the debt and equity of related affiliates or Eurodollar deposits, for example, offer multinationals attractive alternatives to dividend repatriation. We present theoretical models that illustrate how investment and financial incentives change when the possibility of investing in financial assets is added to the analysis. Our models depart from previous work in several important ways. We drop the standard arbitrage condition in which equity and debt are perfect substitutes from the viewpoint of the firm and instead impose a worldwide financial constraint consistent with a rising cost of debt finance. In our models, parents can borrow against financial assets held abroad and may allocate debt across locations to achieve the lowest cost of capital at home and abroad. We also consider the implications of models in which affiliates can invest in related affiliates in other foreign countries. We use firm level balance sheet data from controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) available in the Treasury tax files to test the implications of our models. Our regression results confirm the importance of tax considerations in explaining CFC holdings of financial assets. We also find that CFCs with more debt distribute more dividends. This provides evidence that greater dividend distributions do not necessarily imply lower real investment by CFCs.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert, 1998. "Multinational Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital: The Many Roads Home," Departmental Working Papers 199807, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199807
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    File URL: http://www.sas.rutgers.edu/virtual/snde/wp/1998-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rosanne Altshuler & T. Scott Newlon & Joel Slemrod, 1993. "The Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on the Income Repatriation Patterns of U. S . Multinational Corporations," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in International Taxation, pages 77-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Assaf Razin & Joel Slemrod, 1990. "Taxation in the Global Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number razi90-1.
    3. James R. Hines, Jr. & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1990. "Coming Home To America: Dividend Repatriations By U.S. Multinationals," NBER Chapters,in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 161-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sinn, H.W., 1990. "Taxation And The Birth Of Foreign Subsidiaries," Papers 66, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
    5. Alfons Weichenrieder, 1996. "Anti-tax-avoidance provisions and the size of foreign direct investment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(1), pages 67-81, January.
    6. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    7. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    8. 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.
    9. Hines, James Jr., 1994. "Credit and deferral as international investment incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 323-347, October.
    10. Hugh J. Ault & David F. Bradford, 1990. "Taxing International Income: An Analysis of the U.S. System and Its Economic Premises," NBER Chapters,in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 11-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Rosanne Altshuler & Jack Mintz, 1995. "U.S. interest-allocation rules: Effects and policy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(1), pages 7-35, February.
    12. Horst, Thomas, 1977. "American Taxation of Multinational Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 376-389, June.
    13. Hartman, David G., 1985. "Tax policy and foreign direct investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 107-121, February.
    14. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1984. "Die Bedeutung des Accelerated Cost Recovery System fur den internationalen Kapitalverkehr. (The Significance of the Accelerated Cost Recovery System for International Capital Movements. With English s," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 542-576.
    15. Kenneth A. Froot & James R. Hines, Jr., 1995. "Interest Allocation Rules, Financing Patterns, and the Operations of U.S. Multinationals," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Multinational Corporations, pages 277-312 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2003. "The impact of corporate and personal income taxes on the location of firms and on employment: some panel evidence for the Swiss cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 129-155, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial policy; international taxation; investment policy; multinational; repatriation decisions;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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