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The Impact of Dividend Taxation on Dividends and Investment: New Evidence Based on a Natural Experiment


  • Seppo Kari
  • Hanna Karikallio
  • Jukka Pirttilä


There is a lack of clear evidence of the ways in which dividend taxation affects dividend distributions and investment since the evidence is based mainly on the behaviour of large listed companies. This paper utilises a large register-based panel data set, where the vast majority of firms are small and medium-sized enterprises, to examine the responses to the Finnish dividend tax increase of 2005. This reform creates a useful opportunity to measure enterprise behaviour, since it involves exogenous variation in the tax treatment of different types of firms. The results, based on differences-in-differences estimation and matching methods, indicate that dividends declined somewhat in closely held corporations that faced a tax increase, perhaps for timing reasons, while investments did not decline. These findings are more in line with the new rather than the old view of dividend taxation.

Suggested Citation

  • Seppo Kari & Hanna Karikallio & Jukka Pirttilä, 2009. "The Impact of Dividend Taxation on Dividends and Investment: New Evidence Based on a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2756, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2756

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Annette Alstadsater & Knut Reidar Wangen, 2010. "Small Corporations' Income Shifting through Choice of Ownership Structure - a Norwegian Case," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 73-87, Autumn.
    2. Anne Lauringson, 2011. "Unemployment Benefits In A Period Of Crisis: The Effect On Unemployment Duration," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 82, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    3. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2010. "Booms, Recessions And Financial Turmoil: A Fresh Look At Investment Decisions Under Cyclical Uncertainty," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(s1), pages 290-317, July.
    4. Alstadsæter, Annette & Jacob, Martin & Michaely, Roni, 2017. "Do dividend taxes affect corporate investment?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 74-83.
    5. Jaan Masso & Jaanika Merikull & Priit Vahter, 2011. "Gross profit taxation versus distributed profit taxation and firm perfomance : effects of Estonia,s corporate income tax reform," Bank of Estonia Working Papers wp2011-02, Bank of Estonia, revised 27 Apr 2011.
    6. Masso, Jaan & Meriküll, Jaanika & Vahter, Priit, 2013. "Shift from gross profit taxation to distributed profit taxation: Are there effects on firms?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 1092-1105.
    7. Harju, Jarkko & Matikka, Tuomas, 2013. "Entrepreneurs and income-shifting: Empirical evidence from a Finnish tax reform," Working Papers 43, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Ossi Korkeamäki & Tomi Kyyrä, 2012. "Institutional rules, labour demand and retirement through disability programme participation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(2), pages 439-468, January.
    9. Jarkko Harju & Seppo Kari, 2017. "Dividend Taxes and Decisions of MNEs: Evidence from a Finnish Tax Reform," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(1), pages 45-77.
    10. Kristiina Huttunen & Jenni Kellokumpu, 2016. "The Effect of Job Displacement on Couples' Fertility Decisions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 403-442.
    11. Korkeamäki, Ossi, 2011. "The Finnish payroll tax cut experiment revisited," Working Papers 22, VATT Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item


    corporate income taxation; dividends; investment; tax reform;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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