Repatriation Taxes, Internal Agency Conflicts, and Subsidiary-level Investment Efficiency
The Accounting Review, Forthcoming
Posted: 29 Jul 2020 Last revised: 7 Mar 2022
Date Written: May 1, 2020
Using a global sample of multinational corporations (MNCs) and their foreign subsidiaries, we find that repatriation taxes impair subsidiary-level investment efficiency. Consistent with internal agency conflicts between the central management of the MNC and the manager of the foreign subsidiary being the driver, we show that this effect is concentrated in subsidiaries with high information asymmetry and in subsidiaries that are weakly monitored. Quasi-natural experiments in the UK and Japan establish a causal relationship for our findings and suggest that a repeal of repatriation taxes increases subsidiary-level investment efficiency while reducing the level of investment. Our paper provides timely empirical evidence to inform expectations for the effects of a recent change to the U.S. international tax law that eliminated repatriation taxes from most of the future foreign earnings of U.S. MNCs.
Keywords: repatriation tax; agency conflicts; investment; internal capital
JEL Classification: H21, H25, F23, G31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation