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Recent U.S. Investment Behavior and the Tax Reform Act of 1986: A Disaggregate View

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  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • Kevin Hassett

Abstract

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was expected to cause an overall decline in business fixed investment and a shift in the composition of investment away from machinery and equipment, which previously had received an investment tax credit. Yet neither investment relative to GNP nor equipment investment relative to total investment declined during the period 1987-89. This paper's analysis of investment at the level of individual industries and assets helps reconcile the recent pattern of investment and the predicted effects of the Tax Reform Act. We find that the trend toward investment in equipment predated the Act, and that recent investment in equipment has fallen short of what would have been expected on the basis on nontax factors alone. Using a new technique to identify the impact of taxation on investment, we confirm the importance of tax policy using the cross-section pattern of equipment investment since 1986.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3626.

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Date of creation: Feb 1991
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Publication status: published as Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Vol. 35, pp. 185-215 , (Autumn 1991).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3626

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  1. Barro, Robert J, 1977. "Unanticipated Money Growth and Unemployment in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 101-15, March.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & James R. Hines Jr., 1988. "Investment Tax Incentives and Frequent Tax Reforms," NBER Working Papers 2492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  4. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-47, February.
  5. repec:fth:harver:1465 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Barry P. Bosworth, 1985. "Taxes and the Investment Recovery," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 1-45.
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Cited by:
  1. Goolsbee, Austan, 2004. "Taxes and the quality of capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 519-543, March.
  2. Cummins, Jason G. & Hassett, Kevin A. & Hubbard, R. Glenn, 1996. "Tax reforms and investment: A cross-country comparison," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 237-273, October.
  3. Edgerton, Jesse, 2010. "Investment incentives and corporate tax asymmetries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 936-952, December.
  4. Zee, Howell H. & Stotsky, Janet G. & Ley, Eduardo, 2002. "Tax Incentives for Business Investment: A Primer for Policy Makers in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1497-1516, September.
  5. Bayoumi, Tamim & Gagnon, Joseph, 1996. "Taxation and inflation: A new explanation for capital flows," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 303-330, October.
  6. Hamaaki, Junya, 2008. "Investment responses to Japanese tax reforms: A cross-industry comparison," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 542-562, December.

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