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Temporary Investment Tax Incentives: Theory with Evidence from Bonus Depreciation

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  • Christopher L. House
  • Matthew D. Shapiro

Abstract

The intertemporal elasticity of investment for long-lived capital goods is nearly infinite. Consequently, investment prices should fully reflect temporary tax subsidies, regardless of the investment supply elasticity. Since prices move one-for-one with the subsidy, elasticities can be inferred from quantities alone. This paper uses a recent tax policy--bonus depreciation--to estimate the investment supply elasticity. Investment in qualified capital increased sharply. The estimated elasticity is high--between 6 and 14. There is no evidence that market prices reacted to the subsidy, suggesting that adjustment costs are internal, or that measurement error masks the price changes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 737-68

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:737-68

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.737
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  1. Mussa, Michael L, 1977. "External and Internal Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Aggregate and Firm Investment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(174), pages 163-78, May.
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  18. Hulten, Charles R. & Wykoff, Frank C., 1981. "The estimation of economic depreciation using vintage asset prices : An application of the Box-Cox power transformation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 367-396, April.
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