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Foreign Direct Investment in a World of Multiple Taxes

Mihir A. Desai and James Hines ()

No 8440, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: While governments have multiple tax instruments available to them, studies of the effect of tax policy on the locational decisions of multinationals typically focus exclusively on host country corporate income tax rates and their interaction with home country tax rules. This paper examines the impact of indirect (non-income) taxes on the location and character of foreign direct investment by American multinational firms. Indirect tax burdens significantly exceed foreign income tax obligations for these firms and appear to influence strongly their behavior. The influence of indirect taxes is shown to be partly attributable to the inability of American investors to claim foreign tax credits for indirect tax payments. Estimates imply that 10 percent higher indirect tax rates are associated with 9.2 percent lower reported income of American affiliates and 8.6 percent lower capital/labor ratios. These estimates carry implications for efficient tradeoffs between direct and indirect taxation in raising revenue while attracting mobile capital.

JEL-codes: H87 H25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ifn, nep-lam, nep-pbe and nep-pub
Date: 2001-08
Note: ITI PE
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Published as Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2004. "Foreign direct investment in a world of multiple taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2727-2744, December.

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