Working Paper
Are less developed countries more exposed to multinational tax avoidance?

Method and evidence from micro-data

NOTE | Revised version May 2017 available. View and download the revised version.

We use a global dataset with information on 210,000 corporations in 102 countries to investigate whether cross-border profit shifting by multinational firms is more prevalent in less developed countries. We propose a novel technique to study aggressive profit shifting and improve the credibility of existing techniques.

Our results consistently show that the sensitivity of reported profits to profit-shifting incentives is negatively related to the level of economic and institutional development. This may explain why many developing countries opt for low corporate tax rates in spite of urgent revenue needs and severe constraints on the use of other tax bases.