Offshore Expertise for Onshore Companies: Director Connections to Island Tax Havens and Corporate Tax Policy
Management Science, Forthcoming
48 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2017 Last revised: 24 Jun 2017
Date Written: February 5, 2017
Theory and recent empirical literature suggest that social and professional connections may influence corporate policy. However, inference may be biased by the possibility that firms who share peers also share unobserved characteristics that are correlated with observed policy. Using a novel identification strategy, we predict and find that director connections through well-known island tax havens have a significant effect on corporate tax policy. Specifically, we find that U.S. firms with directors who are connected to firms domiciled on the islands of the Bahamas, Bermuda, or the Caymans, exhibit significantly greater tax avoidance than other U.S. firms. The presence or arrival of an island director is associated with a reduction of between one and three percentage points in the firm's effective tax rate. We also observe a significant increase in the use of tax haven subsidiaries following the arrival of the island director.
Keywords: Tax avoidance, Tax aggressiveness, Social networks, Director interlocks
JEL Classification: H26, K34, M40, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation