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The impact of dividend taxation on dividends and investment: New evidence based on a natural experiment

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  • Seppo Kari
  • Hanna Karikallio
  • Jukka Pirttilä

Abstract

There is a lack of clear evidence of the ways in which dividend taxation affects dividend distributions and investment and the evidence is based mainly on the behaviour of large listed companies. This paper utilises a large register-based panel data set, where the vast majority of firms are small and medium-sized enterprises, to examine the responses to the Finnish dividend tax increase of 2005. This reform creates a useful opportunity to measure enterprise behaviour, since it involves exogenous variation in the tax treatment of different types of firms. The results, based on difference-in-differences estimation and matching methods, indicate that dividends declined somewhat in closely held corporations that faced a tax increase, perhaps for timing reasons, while investments did not decline. These findings are more in line with the new rather than the old view of dividend taxation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT) in its series Working Papers with number 9.

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Date of creation: 08 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fer:wpaper:9

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Keywords: Corporate income taxation; dividends; investment; tax reform;

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References

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  1. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  2. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1990. "The Vanishing Harberger Triangle," NBER Working Papers 3225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kristiina Huttunen, 2007. "The Effect of Foreign Acquisition on Employment and Wages: Evidence from Finnish Establishments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 497-509, August.
  4. Steve Bond & Michael Devereux & Alexander Klemm, 2005. "Dissecting dividend decisions: some clues about the effects of dividend taxation from recent UK reforms," IFS Working Papers W05/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Peter Sørensen, 2005. "Neutral Taxation of Shareholder Income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(6), pages 777-801, November.
  6. B. Douglas Berhheim, 1991. "Tax Policy and the Dividend Puzzle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 455-476, Winter.
  7. Korinek, Anton & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2009. "Dividend taxation and intertemporal tax arbitrage," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 142-159, February.
  8. Annette Alstadsæter & Erik Fjærli, 2009. "Neutral taxation of shareholder income? Corporate responses to an announced dividend tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 571-604, August.
  9. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  10. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," Working papers 343, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "An Agency Theory of Dividend Taxation," NBER Working Papers 13538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Auerbach, Alan J, 1979. "Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 433-46, August.
  13. Alvarez, Luis H. R. & Kanniainen, Vesa & Sodersten, Jan, 1998. "Tax policy uncertainty and corporate investment: A theory of tax-induced investment spurts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 17-48, July.
  14. Tobias Lindhe & Jan Södersten & Ann �berg, 2004. "Economic Effects of Taxing Different Organizational Forms under the Nordic Dual Income Tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 469-485, 08.
  15. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Seppo Kari & Jarkko Harju, 2011. "Dividend taxes and decisions of MNEs: Evidence from a Finnish tax reform," Working Papers 27, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  2. Annette Alstadsater & Knut Reidar Wangen, 2010. "Small Corporations' Income Shifting through Choice of Ownership Structure - a Norwegian Case," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 73-87, Autumn.
  3. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2009. "Booms, Recessions and Financial Turmoil: A Fresh Look at Investment Decisions under Cyclical Uncertainty," CESifo Working Paper Series 2759, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Masso, Jaan & Meriküll, Jaanika & Vahter, Priit, 2013. "Shift from gross profit taxation to distributed profit taxation: Are there effects on firms?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 1092-1105.
  5. Anne Lauringson, 2011. "Unemployment Benefits In A Period Of Crisis: The Effect On Unemployment Duration," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 82, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
  6. Ossi Korkeamäki & Tomi Kyyrä, 2010. "Institutional rules, labour demand and retirement through disability programme participation," Working Papers 16, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  7. Jaan Masso & Jaanika Meriküll & Priit Vahter, 2011. "Gross Profit Taxation Versus Distributed Profit Taxation And Firm Performance: Effects Of Estonia’S Corporate Income Tax Reform," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 81, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
  8. Kristiina Huttunen & Jenni Kellokumpu, 2012. "The Effect of Job Displacement on Couples? Fertility Decisions," Working Papers 29, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  9. Ossi Korkeamäki, 2011. "The Finnish payroll tax cut experiment revisited," Working Papers 22, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  10. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2013. "Entrepreneurs and income-shifting: Empirical evidence from a Finnish tax reform," Working Papers 43, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).

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