Taxes, Technology Transfer, and the R&D Activities of Multinational Firms
Multinational firms that use domestic technologies in foreign locations are required to pay royalties from foreign users to domestic owners. Foreign governments often tax these royalty payments. High royalty tax rates raise the cost of imported technologies. This paper examines the effect of royalty taxes on the local R&D intensities for foreign affiliates of multinational corporations, looking both at foreign-owned affiliates in the United States and at American-owned affiliates in other countries. The results indicate that higher royalty taxes are associated with greater R&D intensity on the part of affiliates, suggesting that local R&D is a substitute for imported technology.