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Taxation, Cost of Capital and Investment: Do Tax Asymmetries Matter?

  • Giampaolo Arachi


    (University of Lecce, Econpubblica, Bocconi University)

  • Federico Biagi


    (University of Padova, Econpubblica and S.D.A., Bocconi University)

This paper provides new evidence on the effects of taxes on the cost of capital and investment based on panel data of 634 Italian firms for the period 1982-1998. In order to reduce the measurement error of the user cost, tax asymmetries are carefully taken into account by using the Shevlin-Graham methodology to proxy the marginal tax rate. The econometric analysis shows that the user cost (and hence taxes) is a relevant determinant of investment behavior (with an estimated elasticity of investment with respect to the user cost of capital which ranges from -0.199 to -0.217). However the careful modeling of tax asymmetries does not significantly improve the statistical performance of the investment model. Possible explanations are discussed with reference to similar findings in Devereux, Keen and Schiantarelli (1994).

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Article provided by GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University in its journal Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia.

Volume (Year): 64 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (November)
Pages: 295-322

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Handle: RePEc:gde:journl:gde_v64_n2-3_p295-322
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  1. Stephen Bond & Costas Meghir, 1994. "Dynamic Investment Models and the Firm's Financial Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 197-222.
  2. Massimo Bordignon & Silvia Giannini & Paolo Panteghini, 2001. "Reforming Business Taxation: Lessons from Italy?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 191-210, March.
  3. Julian Alworth & Giampaolo Arachi, 2001. "The Effect of Taxes on Corporate Financing Decisions: Evidence from a Panel of Italian Firms," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 353-376, August.
  4. Devereux, Michael P, 1989. "Tax Asymmetries, the Cost of Capital and Investment: Some Evidence from United Kingdom Panel Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 103-12, Supplemen.
  5. Colin Mayer, 1986. "Corporation Tax, Finance and the Cost of Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 93-112.
  6. Michael Devereux, 1991. "Corporation Tax Asymmetries and Investment: Evidence from UK Panel Data," Working Papers 820, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  8. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  9. Pindyck, Robert S., 1990. "Irreversibility, uncertainty, and investment," Working papers 3137-90., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  10. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1995. "Tax Reforms and Investment: A Cross-Country Comparison," NBER Working Papers 5232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Maria Elena Bontempi & Silvia Giannini & Roberto Golinelli, 2005. "Corporate Tax Reforms and Financial Choices: An Empirical Analysis," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 64(2-3), pages 271-294, November.
  12. Chirinko, Robert S. & Fazzari, Steven M. & Meyer, Andrew P., 1999. "How responsive is business capital formation to its user cost?: An exploration with micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 53-80, October.
  13. Graham, John R., 1996. "Debt and the marginal tax rate," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 41-73, May.
  14. Graham, John R., 1996. "Proxies for the corporate marginal tax rate," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 187-221, October.
  15. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hassett, Kevin, 1992. "Tax policy and business fixed investment in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 141-170, March.
  16. Bond, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 2007. "Microeconometric Models of Investment and Employment," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 65 Elsevier.
  17. 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.
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