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Regulation, tax and capital structure: evidence from administrative data on Italian banks

Author

Listed:
  • Steve Bond

    () (University of Oxford)

  • Kyung Yeon Ham

    (University of Oxford)

  • Giorgia Maffini

    () (University of Oxford)

  • Andrea Nobili

    () (Associazione Bancaria Italiana)

  • Giacomo Ricotti

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

This paper explores the effect of taxation on the capital structure of banks. For identification, we exploit exogenous regional variations in the rate of the Italian tax on productive activities (IRAP) using administrative, confidential data on regional banks provided by the Bank of Italy (1998-2011). We find that IRAP rate changes do not always lead to a change in banks’ leverage: banks close to the regulatory constraints do not change their leverage when tax rates change. This holds true for both tax cuts and tax hikes. Among less constrained entities, the leverage of smaller banks is more responsive to changes in tax rates than that of larger banks. Overall, the tax system has little effect on the capital structure of banks, especially for larger and possibly more systemically important institutions; regulatory constraints instead seem to be a first-order determinant. Our findings cast doubt on the role of the tax system as a cause or tool for addressing the negative externalities of excessive leverage in the banking system.

Suggested Citation

  • Steve Bond & Kyung Yeon Ham & Giorgia Maffini & Andrea Nobili & Giacomo Ricotti, 2016. "Regulation, tax and capital structure: evidence from administrative data on Italian banks," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 361, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_361_16
    as

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    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/qef/2016-0361/QEF_361_16.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Kick, Thomas & Celerier, Claire & Ongena, Steven, 2017. "Changes in the Cost of Bank Equity and the Supply of Bank Credit," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168164, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Carletti, Elena & De Marco, Filippo & Ioannidou, Vasso & Sette, Enrico, 2019. "Banks as Patient Lenders: Evidence from a Tax Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 13722, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    capital structure; debt; regulation; corporate tax; banks;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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