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Limited Liability, Asymmetric Taxation, and Risk Taking - Why Partial Tax Neutralities can be Harmful

  • Ralf Ewert
  • Rainer Niemann
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    We examine the combined effects of asymmetric taxation and limited liability on optimal risk taking of investors. Given an optimal risk level in the pre-tax case under full liability, loss-offset restrictions reduce, and limited liability enhances the incentives for taking risk. For every degree of limited liability we can find corresponding loss-offset limitations inducing the same optimal risk level as in the reference case. Thereby we get tax neutrality with respect to risk taking. We show that tax neutrality with respect to risk taking is incompatible with tax neutrality with respect to the choice of the legal form. In our model, full liability requires symmetric taxation and limited liability requires asymmetric taxation of profits and losses.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-12/cesifo1_wp3301.pdf
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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3301.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3301
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    2. Estache, Antonio & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1992. "Evaluating the Minimum Asset Tax on Corporations: An Option Pricing Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 684, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Hemmelgarn, Thomas & Nicodème, Gaëtan, 2010. "The 2008 Financial Crisis and Taxation Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7666, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    5. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2003. "Risktaking, Limited Liability, and the Competition of Bank Regulators," Munich Reprints in Economics 19615, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    6. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2007. "Why is there Corporate Taxation? The Role of Limited Liability Revisited," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 92(1), pages 1-10, September.
    7. Paolo M. Panteghini, 2001. "Corporate Tax Asymmetries under Investment Irreversibility," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(3), pages 207-, July.
    8. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1980. "Ökonomische Entscheidungen bei Ungewißheit," Monograph, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 1, number urn:isbn:9783169427024, May.
    9. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Hansen, Pierre, 1982. "Uncertainty and the partial loss offset provision," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 31-35.
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    11. Golbe, Devra L., 1988. "Risk-taking by firms near bankruptcy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 75-79.
    12. Eeckhoudt, L. & Gollier, C. & Schlesinger, H., 1996. "The No Loss Offset Provision and the Attitude Towards Risk of a Risk-Neutral Firm," Papers 96.409, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
    13. Timothy Guinnane & Ron Harris & Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2007. "Putting the Corporation in its Place," NBER Working Papers 13109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Anton Miglo, 2007. "A note on corporate taxation, limited liability, and asymmetric information," Working Papers 0704, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    15. Lund,D., 2000. "Imperfect loss offset and the after-tax expected rate of return to equity, with an application to rent taxation," Memorandum 21/2000, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    16. Paolo M. Panteghini, 2005. "Asymmetric Taxation under Incremental and Sequential Investment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(5), pages 761-779, December.
    17. Saman Majd & Stewart C. Myers, 1986. "Tax Asymmetries and Corporate Income Tax Reform," NBER Working Papers 1924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Grossman, Richard S, 2001. "Double Liability and Bank Risk Taking," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 143-59, May.
    19. Banerjee, Anindya & Besley, Timothy, 1990. "Moral Hazard, Limited Liability and Taxation: A Principal-Agent Model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 46-60, January.
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