PhD defence: Julia Tropina Bakke

PhD Defense

23 May 2016 09:27

(updated: 23 May 2016 09:31)

PhD defence: Julia Tropina Bakke

On Thursday 2 June 2016 Julia Tropina Bakke will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend her thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.

Prescribed topic for the trial lecture

Economic and tax revenue consequences of the OECD base erosion and profit shifting project

Trial lecture

10:15 in Jebsen Centre NHH

Title of the thesis 

Essays on Multinational Firms and Profit-shifting


The papers in this PhD dissertation provide empirical evidence of tax-motivated profit-shifting in multinational firms. This is a topic, which has received considerable attention in recent years. The results in all three papers are consistent with profit-shifting, and indicate use of both transfer price manipulations and international debt shifting, which are two of the most important profit shifting channels.

The first essay provides indirect evidence of profit shifting by studying the effects of foreign acquisitions on the profitability of acquired firms in Norway. The effect on profitability is shown to be negative, and it is further studied whether this is driven by profit-shifting. The results show among other things that the profitability differences are largely driven by an increase in the cost of materials, something, which suggests manipulation of transfer prices on internal trade.

The second essay investigates the profitability effects of changes in ownership in Norwegian firms on an extended dataset, and using a different estimation technique. The finding of decreased in profitability after firms become multinationals is robust. Additional tests are done to investigate whether the observed profitability differences can be due to factors not related to profit-shifting, and whether the fall in profitability is more pronounced for firms with strong incentives and possibilities to shift profit. The results of the tests are also largely consistent with profit-shifting.

The third essay investigates profit-shifting through the use of debt in affiliates of German multinational firms. The essay consists of a theoretical part, where the tax efficient capital structure of multinational firms is modelled, and an empirical part, where the model’s predictions are tested. The empirical estimations show that both internal and external debt is used to shift profit across the affiliates, although we find that the economic importance is relatively small.


12:15 in Jebsen Centre, NHH

Members of the evaluation committee

Associate Professor Aline Butikofer (chair), Department of Economics, NHH

Professor Nadine Riedel, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum

Professor Martin Ruf, Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen

Supervising committee

Professor Jarle Møen (principal supervisor), Department of Business and Management Science, NHH

Associate Professor Ragnhild Balsvik, Department of Economics, NHH

The trial lecture and thesis defence will be open to the public. Copies of the thesis will be available from