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How did the 2003 dividend tax cut affect stock prices?

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  • Eugene Amromin
  • Paul Harrison
  • Steven Sharpe

Abstract

We test the hypothesis that the 2003 dividend tax cut boosted U.S. stock prices and thus lowered the cost of equity. Using an event- study methodology, we attempt to identify an aggregate stock market effect by comparing the behavior of U.S. common stock prices to that of European stocks and real estate investment trusts. We also examine the relative cross-sectional response of prices on high-dividend versus low-dividend paying stocks. We do not find any imprint of the dividend tax cut news on the value of the aggregate U.S. stock market. On the other hand, high-dividend stocks outperformed low-dividend stocks by a few percentage points over the event windows, suggesting that the tax cut did induce asset reallocation within equity portfolios. Finally, the positive abnormal returns on non-dividend paying U.S. stocks in 2003 do not appear to be tied to tax-cut news.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-06-17.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-06-17

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Keywords: Taxation ; Stock - Prices;

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  1. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2000. "On the Marginal Source of Investment Funds," NBER Working Papers 7821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2006. "Dividend Taxes and Firm Valuation: New Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 119-123, May.
  3. Alan J. Auerbach, 2001. "Taxation and Corporate Financial Policy," NBER Working Papers 8203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James Poterba, 2004. "Taxation and Corporate Payout Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 171-175, May.
  5. Clemens Sialm, 2005. "Tax Changes and Asset Pricing: Time-Series Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John R. Graham & Roni Michaely & Michael R. Roberts, 2003. "Do Price Discreteness and Transactions Costs Affect Stock Returns? Comparing Ex-Dividend Pricing before and after Decimalization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2611-2636, December.
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Cited by:
  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.
  2. Josef García Blandón & M?nica Martínez Blasco & Josef Argiles Bosch, 2011. "Ex-Dividend Day Returns when Dividend and Capital Gains are Taxed at the Same Rate," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 61(2), pages 140-152, June.
  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. Jesse Edgerton, 2010. "Effects of the 2003 dividend tax cut: evidence from real estate investment trusts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hassett, Kevin A., 2006. "Dividend Taxes and Firm Valuation: New Evidence," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt2nt4k6vj, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  6. Clemens Sialm, 2006. "Investment Taxes and Equity Returns," NBER Working Papers 12146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lin, Leming & Flannery, Mark J., 2013. "Do personal taxes affect capital structure? Evidence from the 2003 tax cut," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 549-565.

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