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Tax avoidance and underleverage puzzle: Korean evidence

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  • Youngdeok Lim

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    Abstract

    This paper examines whether tax avoidance substitutes for the use of debt, as well as investigating the impact of the tax-exhaustion effect and the cost of debt in this relationship. Applying a modified version of the tax-avoidance measure in Desai and Dharmapala (Rev Econ Stat 91:537–546, 2006 ), I determine the marginal substitution effect of tax avoidance for the use of debt for a large sample of Korean firms, generalizing the evidence of Graham and Tucker (J Financ Econ 81:563–594, 2006 ). Furthermore, I find that the debt-substitution effect increases with the probability of losing tax shields, suggesting that the tax-exhaustion effect interacts with the debt-substitution effect. In addition, the debt-substitution effect becomes stronger when the cost of debt is high, indicating that the cost of debt is a determinant of the substitution effect. The debt-substitution effects of tax avoidance suggest that tax-avoidance activities could offer a partial explanation for the underleverage puzzle. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 (October)
    Pages: 333-360

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:rqfnac:v:39:y:2012:i:3:p:333-360

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    Web page: http://springerlink.metapress.com/link.asp?id=102990

    Related research

    Keywords: Tax avoidance; Underleverage puzzle; Debt-substitution; Tax-exhaustion; G32; H26;

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    1. Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, 1988. "Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," NBER Working Papers 2632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bradley, Michael & Jarrell, Gregg A & Kim, E Han, 1984. " On the Existence of an Optimal Capital Structure: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 857-78, July.
    3. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1984. "Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 650-59, September.
    4. Mihir A. Desai & Dhammika Dharmapala, 2004. "Corporate Tax Avoidance and High Powered Incentives," NBER Working Papers 10471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    13. Trezevant, Robert, 1992. " Debt Financing and Tax Status: Tests of the Substitution Effect and the Tax Exhaustion Hypothesis Using Firms' Responses to the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1557-68, September.
    14. Heitor Almeida & Thomas Philippon, 2007. "The Risk-Adjusted Cost of Financial Distress," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(6), pages 2557-2586, December.
    15. Carlos A. Molina, 2005. "Are Firms Underleveraged? An Examination of the Effect of Leverage on Default Probabilities," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1427-1459, 06.
    16. Kothari, S.P. & Leone, Andrew J. & Wasley, Charles E., 2005. "Performance matched discretionary accrual measures," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 163-197, February.
    17. Titman, Sheridan & Wessels, Roberto, 1988. " The Determinants of Capital Structure Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, March.
    18. John R. Graham, 2000. "How Big Are the Tax Benefits of Debt?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 1901-1941, October.
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