Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Transfer Pricing by Multinational Firms: New Evidence from Foreign Firm Ownerships

Cristea, Anca D. and Nguyen, Daniel X. (2013): Transfer Pricing by Multinational Firms: New Evidence from Foreign Firm Ownerships.

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Abstract

Using a firm-level panel dataset covering the universe of Danish exports between 1999 and 2006, we find robust evidence for profit shifting by multinational corporations (MNC) through transfer pricing. Our triple difference estimation method corrects for a downward bias in previous studies. The bias results from MNCs adjusting their arm's length prices to obscure the extent of their transfer price manipulations. Our identification strategy exploits the movement in export prices to a destination in response to: (1) the establishment of a foreign affiliate by an exporter to that destination, and (2) a change in the foreign corporate tax rates. Once owning an affiliate in a country with a corporate tax rate lower than in the home country, Danish multinationals reduce the unit values of their exports there between 5.7 to 9.1 percent, on average. This reduction corresponds to $141 million in underreported export revenues in year 2006, which translates into a loss in tax income equal to 3.24 percent of Danish MNCs' tax returns.

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