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Corporate Governance, Incentives, and Tax Avoidance

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  • Armstrong, Christopher S.

    (University of PA)

  • Blouin, Jennifer L.

    (University of PA)

  • Jagolinzer, Alan D.

    (University of CO)

  • Larcker, David F.

    (Stanford University)

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the link between corporate governance, managerial incentives, and tax avoidance. Similar to other investment opportunities, unresolved agency problems may cause managers to over- or under-invest in tax avoidance relative to the preferences of shareholders. Using quantile regression, we find that the impact of corporate governance on tax avoidance is most pronounced in the upper and lower tails of the tax avoidance distribution, but not at the mean or median of this distribution. Specifically, we find a positive relation between the financial sophistication and independence of boards and tax avoidance in the upper tail of the tax avoidance distribution, but a negative relation in the lower tail of the tax avoidance distribution. However, we find no relation between corporate governance and tax avoidance and either the conditional mean or median of the tax avoidance distribution. These results suggest that corporate governance tends to decrease extremely high levels of tax avoidance and increase extremely low levels of tax avoidance, which may be symptomatic of over- and under-investment, respectively, by managers. Our results also suggest that inferences about these relations that are drawn from the conditional mean and median and unlikely to be representative across the entire tax avoidance distribution.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 2134.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:2134

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    1. Desai, Mihir A. & Dyck, Alexander & Zingales, Luigi, 2007. "Theft and taxes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 591-623, June.
    2. Joel Slemrod, 2004. "The Economics of Corporate Tax Selfishness," NBER Working Papers 10858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, 2008. "A Theory of Board Control and Size," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 1797-1832, July.
    4. John Core, 2002. "Estimating the Value of Employee Stock Option Portfolios and Their Sensitivities to Price and Volatility," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 613-630, 06.
    5. Minnick, Kristina & Noga, Tracy, 2010. "Do corporate governance characteristics influence tax management?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 703-718, December.
    6. Bushman, Robert & Chen, Qi & Engel, Ellen & Smith, Abbie, 2004. "Financial accounting information, organizational complexity and corporate governance systems," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 167-201, June.
    7. Hanlon, Michelle & Heitzman, Shane, 2010. "A review of tax research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 127-178, December.
    8. Mihir A Desai & Dhammika Dharmapala, 2009. "Corporate Tax Avoidance and Firm Value," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 537-546, August.
    9. Eliezer M. Fich & Anil Shivdasani, 2006. "Are Busy Boards Effective Monitors?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 689-724, 04.
    10. Gupta, Sanjay & Newberry, Kaye, 1997. "Determinants of the variability in corporate effective tax rates: Evidence from longitudinal data," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-34.
    11. Kong-Pin Chen & C.Y. Cyrus Chu, 2005. "Internal Control vs. External Manipulation: A Model of Corporate Income Tax Evasion," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 151-164, Winter.
    12. Mihir A. Desai & Dhammika Dharmapala, 2004. "Corporate Tax Avoidance and High Powered Incentives," NBER Working Papers 10471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Keith J. Crocker & Joel Slemrod, 2004. "Corporate Tax Evasion with Agency Costs," NBER Working Papers 10690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Larcker, David F. & Ormazabal, Gaizka & Taylor, Daniel J., 2012. "The Relation between Equity Incentives and Misreporting: The Role of Risk-Taking Incentives," Research Papers 2120, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    15. Shackelford, Douglas A. & Shevlin, Terry, 2001. "Empirical tax research in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 321-387, September.
    16. Paul A. Gompers & Joy L. Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    17. Christopher S. Armstrong & Alan D. Jagolinzer & David F. Larcker, 2010. "Chief Executive Officer Equity Incentives and Accounting Irregularities," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 225-271, 05.
    18. Chen, Shuping & Chen, Xia & Cheng, Qiang & Shevlin, Terry, 2010. "Are family firms more tax aggressive than non-family firms?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 41-61, January.
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