IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Tax Rate Uncertainty and Investment Behavior


  • Rainer Niemann


This paper deals with the effects of tax rate uncertainty on risk-neutral and risk-averse investment behavior. We analyze effects of stochastic tax rates on both real and financial investment. It emerges that under risk neutrality as well as under risk aversion, increased tax rate uncertainty has an ambiguous impact on investment behavior, depending on the investor’s utility function and the investment project’s structure of cash flows and depreciation deductions. The popular view that tax policy uncertainty depresses real investment is rejected. Tax neutrality in the light of tax policy uncertainty is defined more precisely. Neutrality results for the Johansson-Samuelson tax and the cash flow tax can be widely confirmed for tax rate uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Rainer Niemann, 2001. "Tax Rate Uncertainty and Investment Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 557, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_557

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hassett, Kevin A & Metcalf, Gilbert E, 1999. "Investment with Uncertain Tax Policy: Does Random Tax Policy Discourage Investment?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 372-393, July.
    2. Auerbach, Alan J & Hines, James R, Jr, 1988. "Investment Tax Incentives and Frequent Tax Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 211-216, May.
    3. Skinner, Jonathan, 1988. "The welfare cost of uncertain tax policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 129-145, November.
    4. Paul A. Samuelson, 1964. "Tax Deductibility of Economic Depreciation to Insure Invariant Valuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 604-604.
    5. Bizer, David S & Judd, Kenneth L, 1989. "Taxation and Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 331-336, May.
    6. Alm, James, 1988. "Uncertain Tax Policies, Individual Behavior, and Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 237-245, March.
    7. John Pointon, 1998. "Share Valuation under Geometric Brownian Motion with a Poisson Imputation Tax Change," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1&2), pages 103-113.
    8. Rainer Niemann, 1999. "Neutral Taxation under Uncertainty - a Real Options Approach," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(1), pages 51-66, March.
    9. Agliardi, Elettra, 2001. "Taxation and Investment Decisions: A Real Options Approach," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 44-55, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_557. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Klaus Wohlrabe). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.