The paper analyzes multinational enterprises' incentives to manipulate internal transfer prices to take advantage of tax differences across countries, and implications of transfer-pricing regulations as a countermeasure against such profit shifting. We find that tax-motivated foreign direct investment (FDI) may entail inefficient internal production but may benefit consumers. Thus, encouraging transfer-pricing behavior to some extent can enhance social welfare. Furthermore, we consider tax competition between two countries to explore its interplay with transfer-pricing regulations. We show that the FDI source country will be willing to set a higher tax rate and tolerate some profit shifting to a tax haven country if the regulation is tight enough. We also indicate a novel mechanism through which it is the larger country that undertakes tax-motivated FDI, the pattern we often observe in reality.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics