This article examines the relation between transfer pricing and production incentives using a model of a vertically integrated firm with divisions located in different tax jurisdictions. We show that if divisional profits are taxed at the same marginal rate, the transfer price should be set to minimize the compensation risk faced by the manager of the buying division. For the case where divisional profits are taxed at different marginal rates, we are able to characterize the trade-off between the tax savings from setting transfer prices to reduce profitability in the high tax jurisdication and the loss of effort attributable to the impact of tax avoidance on the incentive compensation system. Further, we show that if it is feasible to compensate the division managers using multiple performance measures, the transfer price should be used to minimize the firm's overall tax liability. Finally, we show that when authority to determine the transfer price must be delegated to one of the division managers, it is optimal to assign responsibility for setting the transfer price to the manager of the division with the most production uncertainty.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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