Alexei Navalny is the most prominent opposition leader in Russia today. During 2020, he entered not only the domestic Russian news flows, but was a major news story around the world following his horrific Novichok poisoning in August. This brief investigates the response in the Russian stock market to news about Navalny. For many significant Navalny news stories, the stock market experienced large negative returns that are not explained by the regular factors that move the market. Although the causality and permanency of these negative excess returns in the stock market are difficult to pin down completely, a first look at the numbers suggests that the short-run drops in the stock market on the days with most significant news regarding Navalny translates into several billion dollars in lost market value on the Russian stock market. In other words, for people that care about their stock market investments and the health of the Russian economy more generally, it makes a lot of sense to care about the health of Navalny.
Alexei Navalny has become the leading political opponent to the current regime in Russia. His visibility (and possibly support) has been growing as he has endured poisoning, recovery in hospital, and court rulings that have imposed a harsh prison term. At the same time, Navalny and his team have posted new material online to make his case that both the president and other Russian leaders are seriously corrupt.
The question addressed in this brief is whether the news regarding Navalny affected the Russian stock market. The reasons for such a response may vary between different investors but could include a fear of international sanctions against Russia; an aversion to keeping investments in a country that put a nerve agent in the underwear of a leading opposition leader; or that news of a national security service poisoning one of its own citizens could trigger domestic protests that create instability.
This brief only investigates if Navalny-related news or events are taken into account at the macro level in the stock market and if so, how important the news seem to be relative to other news as drivers of the stock market index. However, there is a long list of related questions that are subjects for upcoming briefs that include differential effects across sectors and companies as well as identifying what dimensions of the news stories investors responded to.
Navalny in the News
Since August 2020, news regarding Alexei Navalny’s health and his role as the most important opposition leader in Russia have featured prominently in media around the world. There are different ways to analyze the significance of Navalny in the news and here the readily available measure provided by Google trends will be used. Figure 1 shows a global search on the keyword “Navalny” over the period July 1, 2020 to March 13, 2021 relative to total searches, where the maximum level in the period is normalized to 100 and other values are scaled to this. While the numbers on the graph are just relative measures, not telling much about the actual popularity, or market relevance of searches, the spikes in Figure 1 have very clear connections to major news stories as will be detailed below.
Figure 1. Google trends on Navalny
Four episodes stand out in Figure 1 and are marked by red numbers:
1 (August 20-25, 2020) is associated with Navalny falling ill on the flight from Tomsk to Moscow which led to an emergency landing in Omsk and then going to Germany for specialist treatment where it was stated that he had been poisoned.
2 (September 2-3, 2020) is when the German government said that the poison Navalny was exposed to was Novichok, which was also confirmed by laboratories in Sweden and France.
3 (January 17-25, 2021) is an extended period covering the arrest of Navalny as he returned to Russia on January 17; the publication of the YouTube video on “Putin’s palace”; and the street protests that followed.
4 (January 31-February 5) is a period covering a new weekend of public protests and then on February 2, Navalny being sentenced to prison for not complying with parole rules when he was in a coma in Germany. At the tail end of this period, Navalny’s chief of staff announced that street protests will be suspended due to thousands of arrests and police beatings.
Russian Stock Market Reactions
Using stock markets to investigate the value of political news is not new; for example, Fisman (2001) looks at how news regarding Suharto’s health differentially impacted firms that were connected to Suharto versus those that were not. On a topic more closely related to this brief, Enikolopov, Petrova, and Sonin (2018), show that Navalny’s blog posts on corruption negatively affect share prices for the exposed state-controlled companies. Looking at the overall stock market index rather than individual shares in Russia, Becker (2019) analyzes stock market reactions to Russia invading Crimea.
To get a stock market valuation effect of Navalny news that is as clean as possible, we need to filter out other factors that are known to be important drivers of the stock market. In the case of Russia’s dollar denominated stock market index RTS (short for Russia Trading System), we know from Becker (2019) that it is sensitive to movements in global stock markets and international oil prices. The former factor is in line with other stock markets around the world and the oil dependence of the Russian economy makes oil prices a natural second factor (see Becker, 2016).
Figure 2 shows how the RTS index moves with the global markets (proxied by S&P 500 index) and (Brent) oil prices in this period. The correlations of returns are around 0.4 between the RTS and both S&P500 and oil prices respectively. This figure is also the answer to the obvious argument that the stock market was doing very well in the time period of Navalny in the news, so he could not be a major concern to investors. As we will show below, this argument goes away when the effects of the exogenous factors are removed.
To filter out these exogenous factors, we follow the approach in Becker (2019) and regress daily returns on the RTS on daily returns of the exogenous variables. We then compute the residuals from the estimation to arrive at the excess returns that are utilized in the subsequent analysis. For more details on this, see Becker (2020). Since the estimated model provides the foundation for the subsequent analysis, it is important to note that all of the coefficients are statistically significant, and that results are robust to changes in the estimation period and exclusion of lagged values of the exogenous variables.
Figure 2. RTS and exogenous factors
With a time-series of excess returns for the Russian stock market, we can look at the stock market reactions to the four Navalny episodes identified in Figure 1. These periods cover some days for which we cannot compute excess returns since there are days when there is no trading, but all dates in the period are shown in Figure 3 to provide a full account of what stock market data we have for the events. In addition to excess returns during the events that are shown in blue, the day before and the day after the events are shown in light grey. In the first three episodes, the cumulative returns during the events windows were minus 6.2, minus 2.4, minus 6.0 percent, while in the fourth event window it was plus 0.8 (although in this period, the day after Navalny was sentenced to jail, the excess return was minus 1.7).
The correlations between news and excess returns in this brief are based on daily data. Since many things can happen during a day, the analysis is not as precise as in the paper by Enikolopov, Petrova, and Sonin (2018), where the authors claim that causality is proven by the minute by minute data. Although we have to be more modest in claiming that we have identified a causal relationship going from Navalny news to negative stock market returns, the daily data used here provides enough evidence to claim that there is a strong association pointing in this direction. If we take all four events and translate the cumulative excess returns in percent (which is 14) into dollars by using the market capitalization on the RTS at the time of the events (on average around 200 billion dollars), this amounts to a combined loss in market value of over 27 billion dollars.
Figure 3. Excess returns and Navalny news
We may think that excess returns of this magnitude are common and that what we pick up for the four Navalny episodes are regular events in the market. To investigate this and other potential factors that have been important to explain excess returns in this time period, Table 1 provides a list of all the days when the excess return in the market was minus 2 percent or worse. Between August 2020 and mid-March 2021, there were eight such days. The table also shows what could be an associated Navalny event on or close to those dates as well as other competing factors or news that could explain the large negative returns on these days.
Out of 8 days with strong negative returns, the first three days are very clearly associated with major news regarding the poisoning of Navalny. The fourth day is close to Navalny’s release from the hospital but also when there are discussions about U.S. views on Iran and Ukraine. Two of the days are in the time period of the protests following Navalny’s video on “Putin’s palace” and two more days are related to important international institutions speaking out regarding first the poisoning with Novichok and then about the prison term of Navalny.
Although we would need a more fine-grained look at market data to make a final judgment on the most important drivers of the excess returns of a specific day, the fact that every single day with large negative excess returns is on or close to a Navalny news story is again pointing in the direction of a stock market that reacts to news about Navalny. Furthermore, the most significant drops with less competing news are associated with events that have a direct connection to Navalny’s health and how his life was put in danger. In the list of competing news are Nord Stream, Biden affecting the oil and gas industry, and a law regarding the taxation of digital currencies. They are likely to be of at least some relevance for stock market valuations and could account for certain days or shares of poor performance of the RTS, but it is hard to ignore the general impression of Navalny being important for the stock market in this period.
Table 1. Days with RTS excess returns of minus 2% or worse (August 1, 2020 to March 12, 2021)
Although it is difficult to prove causality and rule out all competing explanations, this investigation has shown a strong association between major news regarding Navalny and very poor performance of the Russian stock market. Every day since August 2020 that had excess returns of minus 2 percent or worse is more or less closely associated with significant news on Navalny. More than that, almost all days with significant Navalny news during this period, – as captured by high search intensity of Navalny on Google, – are associated with a poorly performing stock market. In particular, this holds for the day of his poisoning and the following days with comments by international doctors, politicians, and institutions regarding the use of Novichok to this end.
It could be noted that a 1 percent decline in the RTS equates to a loss in monetary terms of around 2 billion USD in this time period since the market capitalization of the RTS index was on average around 200 billion USD. The combined decline in the events shown in Figure 3 is 14 percent and for the days listed in Table 1, it is 21 percent, i.e., corresponding to market losses of somewhere between 28 and 42 billion USD. Even if only a fraction of this would be directly associated with news on Navalny, it adds up to very significant sums that some investors have lost. One may argue that the losses are only temporary and recovered within a short time period (which would still need to be proven), but for the investors that sold assets on those particular days, this is of little comfort. At a minimum, events like these contribute to increased volatility in the market that in turn has a negative effect on capital flows, investments, and ultimately economic growth (Becker, 2019 and 2020). For anyone caring about the health of their own investments or the Russian economy, it makes sense to care about the health of Navalny.
- Becker, Torbjörn, 2016. “Russia and Oil — Out of Control”, FREE policy brief.
- Becker, Torbjörn, 2019. “Russia’s Real Cost of Crimean Uncertainty”, FREE policy brief, June 10.
- Becker, Torbjörn, 2020. “Russia’s macroeconomy—a closer look at growth, investment, and uncertainty”, Ch 2 in Putin’s Russia: Economy, Defence And Foreign Policy, ed. Steven Rosefielde, Scientific Press: Singapore.
- Enikolopov, Ruben, Maria Petrova, and Konstantin Sonin, 2018, “Social Media and Corruption”, American Economic Journals: Applied Economics, 10(1): 150-174.
- Fisman, Raymond, 2001, “Estimating the Value of Political Connections.” American Economic Review, 91 (4): 1095-1102.
- Google trends data.
- Moscow Exchange (MOEX), RTS index data.
- Nasdaq, S&P 500 data.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2021, data on Brent oil prices.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in policy briefs and other publications are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of the FREE Network and its research institutes.
In this brief, I consider problems arising from the virtual non-existence of index funds and/or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in the Russian financial markets. While the Russian economy requires cheaper money for firms’ investments and better options for pensioners, there are almost no instruments that allow stocks for long-term value acquisition by the pension funds. I argue that more passive options and better representation of Russian stock indices may be beneficial for both the real economy and future pensioners.
Russian financial markets
In Russia, banks play a more important role in the economy than financial markets (see Danilov et al., 2017). Comparing the two, we observe bank assets to GDP ratio of about 100%, and financial markets to GDP of less than 45%. The current proportion of sources of corporate and household financing (2/3 of banks and 1/3 of financial markets), and the value of financial markets to GDP, is similar to Germany. However, the banking system in Russia is smaller and less stable. For example, it attracts passives that are very short-term, with average duration of less than 3 years.
One of the causes of the underdeveloped financial markets is the low amount of money in non-government pension funds, and the restrictive regulation that requires them to protect initial capital of future pensioners. This reduces the investment opportunity set of these pension funds, as volatile stocks are unattractive to them, and instead the funds mostly choose to invest in bonds. This is specific to the Russian market: for example, there are no such restrictions in the European approach (European Commission, 2017). However, both in developed countries and in emerging markets, stocks provide higher long-term returns than bonds. Thus, future pensioners in Russia lose on the upside, and the economy sticks to banks as the main source of investment.
The macro economy is also less effective due to the small financial markets. In the data (see Cournède et al., 2015), we see a positive correlation between the growth of outstanding stocks/bonds and the economic growth for low enough levels of total value of financial markets. While causality goes in both directions (higher GDP means need for more financial instruments), this is a compelling reason to develop financial markets.
Finally, people in Russia do not “believe” in stocks and bonds. If one compares the deposit rate in a bank with the yields of the same bank, the former is almost uniformly lower than the latter. Yet, even in the case of Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, individuals prefer to keep their money in deposits or in foreign currency. This is a signal of low financial literacy, as well as of low income, or lack of trust; this is evident in many surveys (S&P, 2015).
Therefore, our research question is: what could be done to make the Russian market more attractive to domestic investors, and make them invest and save for pensions?
There are many papers regarding diversification and investment opportunities of individual investors. As recent research shows (see Bessembinder, 2017), individual stocks are not good for investment even on US market. Namely, most stocks return less than Treasury bills at monthly horizons. Due to this property of financial markets, it is important that domestic investors have access to wide indices.
Moreover, Berk and Binsbergen (2015) demonstrate that active mutual funds generate as much of profits as they retain as fees. This means that individual investors are better off if they choose passive options, like index funds or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), as their main investment vehicle. Index funds and ETFs mostly invest in one index, say S&P500 of the 500 largest US stocks, and their explicit mandate is to stick to this index. Index funds can only be bought through a broker, while ETFs are traded on an exchange, like stocks. This makes them different in terms of possibility of active portfolio rebalancing. However, both are very passive by nature.
These arguments lead to the first conclusion: to improve investment opportunities of pension funds and individual investors, as well as the macroeconomic stability, the regulator might motivate institutional market participants to provide more passive, diversified, and stock-based portfolios.
ETFs and robo-advising in Russia
One way to increase the number of passive options is to allow more ETFs in Russian stock exchanges. As ETFs and their availability to investors have to be confirmed by the regulator (the Central Bank), one cannot immediately add new ETFs to the market. Index funds are another option. However, they have a long and sad history in the Russian market: most (about 95%) of the so-called “index funds” deviate from their benchmarks and do not follow indices. This has to do with the openness of the funds: while mutual funds and index funds have to report their stock/bond/cash holdings once a quarter, ETFs publish it daily. So one can check that ETFs follow their mandates with ease. Moreover, ETFs are usually cheaper and thus save returns for investors.
While existing ETFs on the Moscow Stock Exchange already cover a wide range of markets and even some sectors (including the Russian stock market, US S&P500, Europe and China), they are still too small in terms of assets under management (about $150 millions) and are issued by one company (FinEx). Currently, FinEx ETFs are almost the only option to invest passively, and to diversify, in the Russian market. At the same time, in most markets, index funds are marginally better saving/retirement/investment vehicle as they require less trading fees and thus save returns for low-income investors.
Regulators can facilitate the process of indexation in at least two following ways: (i) allow introduction of more index funds or ETFs in the market (requires regulator’s supervision and confirmation); and (ii) provide incentives to brokers and financial advisors to make them their first recommendation to individual investors and pension funds (as is done in the US, see BNY Mellon, 2016).
Another way to cater to low-income investors is robo-advising – an ongoing revolution in the financial markets. This tool allows investors to get wealth management advice for a small fee (about 0.15% in the best case), and it mostly invests in low-cost, passive ETFs that allow diversification of investments. While this is still new for Russia (and done by FinEx with partners from banks), it has become more widespread in developed markets. Assets under management with robo-advisors increase rapidly and now exceed $220 billions. This tool is useful for investors who are not financially literate, do not have economic or financial education, but still need good investment opportunities. In Russia, robo-advising may become a norm for so-called “non-qualified” investors – people with low enough savings and no educational certificates on financial markets. The regulator has not yet confirmed this, but we see many signs that it will go in this direction. One problem for this market is that it is still not official, and human financial advice is considered as a norm for non-qualified investors if they would like to expand their investment universe to say derivatives.
A big positive side of robo-advising is the reduction of human errors. As Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize winner of 2017, has persuasively shown in his research that humans make many judgement errors. These mistakes lead to lower returns on investment, too much trading that eats returns due to fees, and higher wealth inequality. Robo-advisers avoid all that and allow individual investors to save and invest more long-term.
The second conclusion is: regulators should help the financial industry to develop better robo-advising software that uses ETFs; use these robo-advisers as replacement for human advisers; and advertise this as the option for long-term investment, including pension funds.
Russian financial markets should provide more financial instruments to Russian firms and higher flexibility for investors. The Central Bank as the supervisor of financial markets, and the Ministry of Economic Development as the main government branch responsible for economic growth, may take additional steps to increase availability of passive investment options for Russian citizens. Reforms of incentives of brokerage firms might be needed, yet the ultimate goal is to improve well-being and pensions, and probably make good use of the money of long-term domestic investors. One possible option is to widen already existing ETFs market and allow individual investors to use robo-advising to invest in many instruments, even if these investors are not highly qualified or wealthy.
- Bessembinder, Hendrik, 2017. “Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills?”, Journal of Finance, Forthcoming. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2900447.
- Berk, Jonathan B. and Jules H. van Binsbergen, 2015. “Measuring skill in the mutual fund industry”, Journal of Financial Economics, vol. 118, issue 1, 1-20. https://econpapers.repec.org/article/eeejfinec/v_3a118_3ay_3a2015_3ai_3a1_3ap_3a1-20.htm.
- BNY Mellon, 2016. “Accelerating Growth: The Department of Labor Conflict of Interest Rule and its Impact on the ETF Industry”, memo. https://www.bnymellon.com/_global-assets/pdf/our-thinking/accelerating-growth-the-dol-conflict-of-interest-rule.pdf
- Cournède, Boris; Oliver Denk, and Peter Hoeller, 2015. “Finance and Inclusive Growth”, OECD economic policy papers. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/finance-and-inclusive-growth_5js06pbhf28s-en?crawler=true
- Danilov, Y.A.; A.E. Abramov and O.V. Buklemishev, 2017. “Reform of financial markets and non-banking financial sector” (in Russian), Policy report. https://csr.ru/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Report-Financial-markets-v2-web.pdf.
- European Commission, 2017. “Pan-European Personal Pension Product (PEPP)”, memo. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-1798_en.htm
- S&P Global Finlit Survey, 2015. http://gflec.org///initiatives/sp-global-finlit-survey/
This brief highlights the results of a study of Japan’s 2009 adoption of a territorial tax regime exempting corporations’ foreign earnings from domestic taxation. We examine stock market reactions to events leading to the adoption of a dividend exemption system. We use an event study methodology leveraging firm characteristics and accounting for confounding effects from recent financial market developments. We find that relative to other Japanese multinationals, firms facing lower effective tax rates on their foreign operations benefit disproportionately from the reform. Surprisingly, firms with less foreign exposure and fewer opportunities for tax avoidance experience relatively larger abnormal returns overall. We attribute these gains to a combination of enhanced opportunities for international expansion among smaller domestic firms, direct tax savings on undistributed foreign earnings, and general cultural biases against tax planning.
As firms’ operations have expanded their global reach, corporate taxation has become inextricably tied to the taxation of multinational firms’ (MNCs’) foreign earnings. Correspondingly, international tax issues including tax avoidance, tax competition, and multinational competitiveness have dominated discussions on corporate tax reform. Much of the debate focuses on the choice over worldwide (residence-based) versus territorial (source-based) taxation. This brief summarizes a study by Bradley, Dauchy, and Hasegawa (2014) in which we aim to capture the full range of possible effects of Japan’s 2009 adoption of a 95 percent foreign dividend exemption system on firm after-tax profitability by examining stock market reactions around key events leading to the reform. More specifically, our study looks into abnormal stock returns (ARs) defined as extra-normal firms’ returns below or beyond what the market would have predicted, absent the event. ARs surrounding key event dates leading to the reform are used to quantify current and future tax savings on repatriated earnings as well as benefits flowing from firms’ enhanced ability to compete in foreign markets.
Japan’s 2009 Tax Reform
From 2003 to 2009, 10 OECD countries switched from worldwide to territorial tax regimes; the latest and most consequential among these being Japan and the United Kingdom. Motivated by a desire to encourage domestic reinvestment of accumulated foreign earnings, and to enhance Japanese firm competitiveness in foreign markets through reduced tax and compliance costs, the Japanese dividend exemption system arose from a short succession of tax policy discussions. Given the tightly structured nature of Japan’s annual tax reform process, the most informative and authoritative events in the sequence that we consider, are thus the initial May 9, 2008 announcement. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) was then instructed to analyze the consequences of adopting a territorial tax regime. This announcement was followed by two subsequent Cabinet meetings, in which details of the proposed reform were refined and ultimately endorsed on June 27, 2008 and January 23, 2009, respectively.
Our data and identification strategy
For our analysis, we use data from Datastream, which consist of daily stock market returns for the largest quartile (by market capitalization) of publicly listed Japanese, U.S., and German firms. These data are combined with annual financial statement information from Orbis on each publicly listed Parent Corporation and all of their foreign subsidiaries. Adapting the standard market model event study methodology, returns on U.S. and German market portfolios are incorporated in our determination of abnormal Japanese stock returns. This is to control for potential confounding events associated with the global financial crisis. Conversely, we also study possible spillover effects of the reform in the U.S. and German markets. The idea is to identify whether the Japanese reform may have affected the prospects for adoption of a territorial tax regime in the U.S.—which now accounts for around 80 percent of GDP among the remaining OECD worldwide regimes – or how this may have affected U.S. and German firm competitiveness, the latter being subject to a dividend exemption system very similar to Japan’s under Germany’s long-standing territorial tax system. Significant differences in investor reactions across the Japanese, U.S., and German markets around our event dates are hence informative about the different channels by which the Japanese reform was perceived to impact firm after-tax profitability.
Figure 1. Cumulative Abnormal Returns on May 9, 2008, by Firm Nationality and Multinational Status.
Notes: This figure plots cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) within a 5 trading-day window centered around the May 9, 2008 event, defined as the sum of daily ARs. ARs are the mean cross-sectional prediction errors derived from estimation of the standard market model including market portfolio returns drawn from the Japanese, U.S., and German exchanges over the last 250 trading days ending 20 days before the first event. Tests of statistical significance (in red) follow Kolari and Pynnönen’s (2010) “adjusted BMP” methodology.
Moreover, we leverage the location of foreign subsidiaries and financial statement characteristics of both parents and subsidiaries to estimate in a single step the contribution to ARs from particular firm attributes. Among these, we emphasize simple distinctions between domestic and multinational firms, or the ownership of at least a single subsidiary in a tax haven, as a proxy for tax planning sophistication. A direct measure of tax savings on the repatriation of accumulated foreign earnings is calculated as the difference between the average effective tax rate on domestic and foreign operations. Further interactions of this potential tax savings rate with measures of intangible intensity are intended to distinguish prospects for future tax savings on intangibles-facilitated income reallocation.
A striking point that emerge from Figure 1 is that Japanese market reactions generally appear larger in magnitude among domestic firms than MNCs. Statistically-significant 1-2 percent cumulated abnormal returns (CARs) observed among the former group appear to validate one of the Japanese reform’s objectives of facilitating expansion of smaller firms into overseas markets (Toder, 2014).
It is also noteworthy that the positive effect on Japanese firms is unmet by comparable reactions in either German or U.S. markets, such that the observed effect in Japan is more credibly attributable to the METI announcement — itself evidently either ignored or perceived as unimportant for U.S. and German firm profitability.
Table 1. Cumulated Event Date AAR Effects by Nationality and MNC Status
Notes: Significance levels are designated as *** (1 percent), ** (5 percent), and * (10 percent). Cumulated marginal effects measure ARs averaged over each three-day event window (AARs) and summed across Cabinet meeting dates.
These results appear to be reinforced after accounting for key firm characteristics, albeit in a nuanced way. Over the course of the full sequence of three Cabinet meeting dates, Japanese MNCs experienced significantly worse cumulated average abnormal returns (AARs) than their domestic counterparts, equal to a difference of 3.8 percent of market capitalization through the end of the January 23, 2009 event window (see Table 1).
As Predicted, Firms with Larger Tax Savings Potential Are Net Winners
Underlying these differences by multinational status, the rate of anticipated tax savings resulting from the reform is nevertheless associated with substantial positive effects on Japanese MNC valuations, with the largest such contributions arising around the last Cabinet meeting date. Over the course of all three events, a 10-percentage point increase in the tax savings rate was associated with AARs of 0.31 percent (top panel of Table 2). Applied to the set of Japanese firms in our sample with an observed average tax savings rate of 21.5 percent, this implies aggregate savings just slightly in excess of predicted tax savings on the repatriation of ¥17 trillion in undistributed earnings held by foreign subsidiaries of Japanese firms in fiscal 2006 according to the best available estimates prior to reform (METI, 2008).
Table 2. Cumulated Event Date AAR Effects among MNCs, by Nationality
More sophisticated or tax aggressive firms with subsidiaries located in tax havens performed relatively worse than other Japanese MNCs, while firms in industries characterized by heavier reliance on intangibles likewise saw no additional gains in relation to potential tax savings on future shifted earnings.
Our study reveals that the Japanese adoption of a territorial regime was, at least initially, perceived as being disproportionately valuable for firms that might previously have been deterred from expanding overseas due to international tax compliance issues and lack of competitiveness under the previous worldwide regime, consistent with one of the motives for the reform. More tax savvy Japanese MNCs may have benefited disproportionately less, in part, because the previous regime was not limiting their ability to borrow from their affiliates, or simply because of a lack of interest in tax planning, as is widely reported among tax practitioners.
Our study confirms the importance of the most direct source of gains from adoption of a territorial tax regime – namely, the tax savings on immediate repatriations. At the same time, it highlights the perceived benefits among aspiring entrants into foreign markets of reductions in tax compliance costs and enhanced competitiveness in foreign markets.
- Bradley, Dauchy, and Hasegawa. CEFIR/NES WP Series, No. 201, September 2014. http://www.cefir.ru/index.php?l=eng&id=35
- Kolari, J. and S. Pynnönen (2010), “Event Study Testing with Cross-sectional Correlation of Abnormal Returns,” Review of Financial Studies, Vol. 23, No. 11, pp. 3996–4025.
- Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (2008), “Repatriations of Foreign Profits by Japanese Enterprises: Toward the introduction of a dividend exemption regime (In Japanese: Wagakuni Kigyo no Kaigairieki no Kanryu nitsuite).” http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/columns/a01_0387.html#note2.
- Toder, Eric (2014), “Review of the Conference on What the United States Can Learn from the Experience of Countries with Territorial Tax Systems,” Urban Institute, Washington D.C., June 18. http://www.urban.org/publications/413159.html