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Investment Incentives and the Discounting of Depreciation Allowances

In: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation

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  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

This paper examines the discounting of depreciation allowances both theoretically and empirically. Economic theory suggests that depreciation tax shields should be discounted at the after tax riskless rates. However, a survey of 200 major corporations indicates that they employ much higher discount rates to depreciation allowances. Typical discount rates are in the 15 percent range. This finding suggests that "frontloaded" incentives like the ITC provide maximal stimulus to corporate investment.
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Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Investment Incentives and the Discounting of Depreciation Allowances," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 295-304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11352
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roger H. Gordon & James R. Hines, Jr. & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Notes on the Tax Treatment of Structures," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 223-258, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ruback, Richard S., 1986. "Calculating the market value of riskless cash flows," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 323-339, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aizenman, Joshua, 1997. "Investment in new activities and the welfare cost of uncertainty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 259-277, April.
    2. Miao, Jianjun & Wang, Neng, 2011. "Risk, uncertainty, and option exercise," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 442-461, April.
    3. Berg, Magnus & Bøhren, Øyvind & Vassnes, Erik, 2018. "Modeling the response to exogenous shocks: The capital uplift rate in petroleum taxation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 442-455.
    4. Magni, Carlo Alberto, 2007. "Investment decisions, equivalent risk and bounded rationality," MPRA Paper 6073, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Should Tax Reform Level the Playing Field?," NBER Working Papers 2132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Carlo Alberto Magni, 2007. "Project valuation and investment decisions: CAPM versus arbitrage," Applied Financial Economics Letters, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 137-140.
    7. Elmer, Nicole A. & Thurow, Amy P. & Johnson, Jason L. & Rosson, C. Parr, 2001. "An Ex Ante Assessment of Investments in Texas Grapefruit under Uncertainty," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 391-401, December.
    8. Zodrow, George R., 1995. "Taxation, uncertainty and the choice of a consumption tax base," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 257-265, October.
    9. Lund, Diderik, 2006. "Taxation and systematic risk under decreasing returns to scale," Working Papers 02-2003, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
    10. Diderik Lund, 2002. "Taxation, Uncertainty, and the Cost of Equity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 483-503, August.
    11. Darrel Cohen & Jason G. Cummins, 2006. "A retrospective evaluation of the effects of temporary partial expensing," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Hebous, Shafik & Ruf, Martin, 2017. "Evaluating the effects of ACE systems on multinational debt financing and investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 131-149.
    13. Arvid Raknerud & Rolf Golombek, 2000. "Exit Dynamics with Rational Expectations," Discussion Papers 291, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    14. Wambach, Achim, 2000. "Payback criterion, hurdle rates and the gain of waiting," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 247-258.
    15. Anderson, Edward G., 2001. "Managing the impact of high market growth and learning on knowledge worker productivity and service quality," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 134(3), pages 508-524, November.
    16. Auger, Felipe & Ignacio Guzmán, Juan, 2010. "How rational are investment decisions in the copper industry?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 292-300, December.
    17. Gilbert E. Metcalf & Donald Rosenthal, 1995. "The “new” view of investment decisions and public policy analysis: An application to green lights and cold refrigerators," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 517-531.
    18. Hardmann, PA & Darroch, MAG & Ortmann, GF, 2003. "Evaluating Potential Investments In The Pink Lady Apple Cultivar Under Uncertainty And Irreversibility," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 42(3).
    19. Shaanan, Joseph, 2005. "Investment, irreversibility, and options: An empirical framework," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 241-254.

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