Multinational Profit Shifting and Measures throughout Economic Accounts
Profit shifting to low-tax countries imposes challenges for the treatment of multinational enterprises in economic accounts. Using adjustments for profit shifting calculated in Guvenen et al. (2017) under an alternative measurement methodology, this paper empirically demonstrates how the effects of profit shifting cascade throughout a fully articulated set of economic accounts for the United States in 2014. We find a 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent increase in measured US gross domestic product and operating surplus, respectively, and a 33.5 percent decrease in measured income receivable from the rest of world. As a result of offsetting effects, measured US gross national saving decreases by 0.8 percent, and national borrowing increases by 6.9 percent. There are also potentially significant implications for analytic uses of the measures, including decreases for the labor share of income and the return on US direct investment abroad and increases for the trade in services balance and the return on domestic nonfinancial business.