Repatriation Taxes, Internal Agency Conflicts, and Subsidiary-level Investment Efficiency

59 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2018 Last revised: 8 May 2019

See all articles by Harald Amberger

Harald Amberger

Vienna University of Economics and Business; Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business

Kevin Markle

University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business

David M. P. Samuel

Wisconsin School of Business; Vienna University of Economics and Business

Date Written: April 29, 2019

Abstract

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 find that this effect is prevalent in subsidiaries with high information asymmetry, in subsidiaries that are weakly monitored, and subsidiaries of cash-rich MNCs. 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 which eliminated repatriation taxes from most of the future foreign earnings of U.S. MNCs.

Keywords: repatriation tax, agency, investment, internal capital

JEL Classification: H21, H25, F23, G31

Suggested Citation

Amberger, Harald Johannes and Markle, Kevin and Samuel, David, Repatriation Taxes, Internal Agency Conflicts, and Subsidiary-level Investment Efficiency (April 29, 2019). WU International Taxation Research Paper Series No. 2018-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3138823 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3138823

Harald Johannes Amberger

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
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Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Kevin Markle (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business ( email )

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David Samuel

Wisconsin School of Business ( email )

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Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

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