DP10844 Knocking on Tax Haven?s Door: Multinational Firms and Transfer Pricing

Author(s): Ronald Davies, Julien Martin, Mathieu Parenti, Farid Toubal
Publication Date: September 2015
Keyword(s): pricing to market, tax havens, transfer pricing
JEL(s): F23, H25, H32
Programme Areas: Public Economics, International Trade and Regional Economics, International Macroeconomics and Finance
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10844

This paper analyzes the transfer pricing of multinational firms. Intra-firm prices may systematically deviate from arm?s length prices for two motives: pricing to market and tax avoidance. Using French firm-level data on arm?s length and intra-firm export prices, we find that the sensitivity of intra-firm prices to foreign taxes is reinforced once we control for pricing-to-market determinants. Most importantly, we find no evidence of tax avoidance if we disregard tax haven destinations. Tax avoidance through transfer pricing is economically sizable. The bulk of this loss is driven by the exports of 450 firms to ten tax havens.