Innovation for Tax Avoidance: Product Differentiation and the Arm's Length Principle

Author Name OKOSHI Hirofumi (Okayama University)
Creation Date/NO. May 2021 21-E-038
Research Project Economic Policy Issues in the Global Economy
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Product differentiation both enhances consumer utility and firm profits but at the same time makes it difficult for tax authorities to audit MNE tax avoidance strategies, as the arm's length principle is difficult to apply. This paper incorporates these positive and negative aspects of product differentiation and studies the interrelation between profit shifting and product differentiation. The model shows that MNEs engage in more investment in product differentiation in the presence of profit shifting opportunities, and that globalization accelerates the investment. The model also shows that globalization can improve welfare in a non-tax haven.