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Dividend and Corporate Taxation in an Agency Model of the Firm

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  • Raj Chetty
  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

Recent evidence on the effect of dividend taxes on firm behavior is inconsistent with neoclassical theories of dividend and corporate taxation. We develop a simple agency model in which managers and shareholders have conflicting interests to explain the evidence. In this model, dividend taxation induces managers to undertake unproductive investments by retaining earnings, and creates a first-order deadweight cost. In contrast, corporate taxes do not distort the manager's payout decision and may only create second-order efficiency costs. Corporate income taxation may therefore be a more efficient way to generate revenue than dividend taxation, challenging existing intuitions based on neoclassical models. (JEL D21, G35, H25, H32)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 1-31

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:1-31

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.3.1
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  1. Jeffrey R. Brown & Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2004. "Executive Financial Incentives and Payout Policy: Firm Responses to the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," NBER Working Papers 11002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Gustavo Grullon & Roni Michaely & Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 2005. "Dividend Changes Do Not Signal Changes in Future Profitability," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(5), pages 1659-1682, September.
  7. Fenn, George W. & Liang, Nellie, 2001. "Corporate payout policy and managerial stock incentives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 45-72, April.
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  14. Chetty, Raj & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Dividend Taxes and Corporate Behaviour: Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," CEPR Discussion Papers 4722, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  18. Auerbach,Alan J. & Hines, Jr.,James R. & Slemrod,Joel (ed.), 2007. "Taxing Corporate Income in the 21st Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521870221, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Anagnostopoulos, Alexis & Cárceles-Poveda, Eva & Lin, Danmo, 2012. "Dividend and capital gains taxation under incomplete markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 599-611.
  2. Alzahrani, Mohammed & Lasfer, Meziane, 2012. "Investor protection, taxation, and dividends," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 745-762.
  3. Jesse Edgerton, 2013. "Four facts about dividend payouts and the 2003 tax cut," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(5), pages 769-784, October.
  4. Zhiguo He & Gregor Matvos, 2012. "Debt and Creative Destruction: Why Could Subsidizing Corporate Debt be Optimal?," NBER Working Papers 17920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jesse Edgerton, 2012. "Investment, Accounting, and the Salience of the Corporate Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 18472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Becker, Bo & Jacob, Marcus & Jacob, Martin, 2013. "Payout taxes and the allocation of investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 1-24.
  7. Emmanuel Saez & Joel B. Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2009. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 15012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marko Köthenbürger & Michael Stimmelmayr, 2009. "Corporate Taxation and Corporate Governance," CESifo Working Paper Series 2881, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Seppo Kari & Jussi Laitila, 2012. "Non-linear dividend tax and dynamics of the firm," Working Papers 41, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  10. Koethenbuerger, Marko & Stimmelmayr, Michael, 2014. "Corporate deductibility provisions and managerial incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 120-130.
  11. Christian Keuschnigg & Evelyn Ribi, 2013. "Profit taxes and financing constraints," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(5), pages 808-826, October.

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