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Taxes and Growth in a Financially Underdevelopped Country: Evidence from the Chilean Investment Boom

  • Chang-Tai Hsieh

    ()

  • Jonathan A. Parker

    ()

This paper argues that taxation of retained profits is particularly distortionary in an economy with good growth prospects and poorly developed financial markets because it primarily reduces the investment of financially constrained firms, investment that has marginal product greater than the after-tax market real interest rate. Contrarily, taxes on distributed profits or capital gains primarily reduce the investment of financially unconstrained firms. Chile experienced a banking crisis over the period from 1982 to 1986 and in 1984 reduced its tax rate on retained profits from 50 percent to 10 percent. We show that, consistent with our theory, there was a large increase in aggregate investment after the reform which was entirely funded by an increase in retained profits. Further, we show that investment grew by more in industries that depend more on external financing, according to the Rajan and Zingales (1998) measure. Finally, we present some weak evidence from comparisons of investment rates across firms for several different measures of their likelihood of being financially constrained.

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Article provided by ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION in its journal ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.

Volume (Year): (2007)
Issue (Month): ()
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Handle: RePEc:col:000425:008638
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  1. Simon Gilchrist & Charles P. Himmelberg, 1993. "Evidence on the role of cash flow for investment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-7, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Cummins, J.G. & Hassett, K.A. & Hubbard, R.G., 1995. "tax Reforms and Investment: A Cross-Country Comparison," Working Papers 95-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  12. Ricardo J. Caballero, 2000. "Structural Volatility in Chile: A Policy Report," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6469, Inter-American Development Bank.
  13. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1997. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," NBER Working Papers 5996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Kasahara, Hiroyuki, 2009. "Temporary Increases in Tariffs and Investment: The Chilean Experience," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 113-127.
  15. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Financial Dependence and Growth," CRSP working papers 344, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  16. Hassett, Kevin A. & Hubbard, R. Glenn, 2002. "Tax policy and business investment," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 20, pages 1293-1343 Elsevier.
  17. Peter Diamond, 1993. "Privatization of Social Security: Lessons from Chile," NBER Working Papers 4510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," NBER Working Papers 5053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Sebastian Edwards, 1998. "The Chilean Pension Reform: A Pioneering Program," NBER Chapters, in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 33-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Agosin, Manuel R, 2001. "What Accounts for the Chilean Saving 'Miracle'?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(4), pages 503-16, July.
  21. Andrew A. Samwick, 2000. "Is Pension Reform Conducive to Higher Saving?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 264-272, May.
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