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Do corporate tax cuts increase investments?

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  • Laura Dobbins
  • Martin Jacob

Abstract

This paper studies the effect of corporate taxes on investment. Since firms with a foreign parent have more cross-country profit shifting opportunities than domestically owned firms do, their effective tax rate and, consequently, their tax-induced costs to investment are lower. We therefore expect capital investment responses to a corporate tax cut to be heterogeneous across firms. Using firm-level data on German corporations, we exploit the 2008 tax reform, which substantially cut corporate taxes as an exogenous policy shock and expect domestically owned firms' investments to be more responsive to the reform. We show exactly this in a difference-in-differences setting. We find that the reduction in corporate tax payments led to a one-to-one increase in the real investments of domestic firms. The effect is stronger for domestic firms relying more on internal funds. Correspondingly, labor investment increased more for domestic firms, ensuring a constant mix of input factors. In addition, we show that domestic firms' sales grew faster after the tax cut than the sales of foreign-owned firms. Our results imply that corporate tax changes can increase corporate investment but that domestic firms benefit more than foreign-owned firms from a tax cut through higher investment responses resulting in greater sales growth.

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  • Laura Dobbins & Martin Jacob, 2016. "Do corporate tax cuts increase investments?," Accounting and Business Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(7), pages 731-759, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:acctbr:v:46:y:2016:i:7:p:731-759
    DOI: 10.1080/00014788.2016.1192985
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    3. Leszczyłowska, Anna & Meier, Jan-Hendrik, 2021. "Do earnings stripping rules hamper investment? Evidence from CIT reforms in European countries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
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    5. Reinald Koch & Dominika Langenmayr, 2020. "Der steuerliche Umgang mit Verlusten: Reformoptionen für die Corona-Krise [The Tax Treatment of Losses: Options for Reforms During the Corona Crisis]," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 100(5), pages 367-373, May.
    6. Haga, Jesper & Höglund, Henrik & Sundvik, Dennis, 2019. "Cost behavior around corporate tax rate cuts," Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 1-11.
    7. Umar Farooq & Suhaib Anagreh & Mohammad Ahmad Al-Omari & Mosab I. Tabash, 2022. "Corporate Tax Rate, Financing Policy and Investment Decisions: Evidence from 8 Asian Economies," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 242(3), pages 29-51, September.
    8. Sundvik Dennis, 2017. "A review of earnings management in private firms in response to tax rate changes," Nordic Tax Journal, Sciendo, vol. 2017(1), pages 151-161, January.

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