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How did the 2003 dividend tax cut affect stock prices?

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  • Eugene Amromin
  • Paul Harrison
  • Steven A. Sharpe

Abstract

We test the hypothesis that the 2003 dividend tax cut boosted U.S. stock prices and thus lowered the cost of equity. Using an event-study methodology, we attempt to identify an aggregate stock market effect by comparing the behavior of U.S. common stock prices to that of European stocks and real estate investment trusts. We also examine the relative cross-sectional response of stock prices for high-dividend and low-dividend stocks. We find that U.S. large-cap and small-cap indexes do not outperform their European counterparts, nor REIT stocks, over the event windows, suggesting the absence of a notable aggregate stock market effect. Second, high-dividend-yield stocks outperformed low-dividend-yield stocks by a few percentage points over the event windows, consistent with the hypothesis that investors heavily discounted future dividends, though this outperformance appears to dissipate in subsequent weeks. Finally, non-dividend paying stocks are found to have outperformed the overall market by a small margin, but this result does not appear to be tied to tax-cut news, suggesting that non-tax factors were at play.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugene Amromin & Paul Harrison & Steven A. Sharpe, 2005. "How did the 2003 dividend tax cut affect stock prices?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2005-61
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Poterba, 2004. "Taxation and Corporate Payout Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 171-175, May.
    2. John R. Graham & Roni Michaely & Michael R. Roberts, 2003. "Do Price Discreteness and Transactions Costs Affect Stock Returns? Comparing Ex-Dividend Pricing before and after Decimalization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2611-2636, December.
    3. Clemens Sialm, 2005. "Tax Changes and Asset Pricing: Time-Series Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hassett, Kevin A., 2003. "On the marginal source of investment funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 205-232, January.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2006. "Dividend Taxes and Firm Valuation: New Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 119-123, May.
    6. Auerbach, Alan J., 2002. "Taxation and corporate financial policy," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 19, pages 1251-1292 Elsevier.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maul, D. & Schiereck, D., 2016. "The bond event study methodology since 1974," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 80723, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
    2. Clemens Sialm, 2006. "Investment Taxes and Equity Returns," NBER Working Papers 12146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ferris, Erin E. Syron, 2015. "Dividend Taxes and Stock Volatility," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Josef García Blandón & M?nica Martínez Blasco & Josef Argiles Bosch, 2011. "Ex-Dividend Day Returns when Dividend and Capital Gains are Taxed at the Same Rate," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 61(2), pages 140-152, June.
    5. Jolana Stejskalova, 2016. "Impact of the information on tax burden on the stock market," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2016-62, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    6. Jeffrey R. Brown & Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2007. "Executive Financial Incentives and Payout Policy: Firm Responses to the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1935-1965, August.
    7. Borgonovo, E. & Gatti, S. & Peccati, L., 2010. "What drives value creation in investment projects? An application of sensitivity analysis to project finance transactions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 205(1), pages 227-236, August.
    8. Lin, Leming & Flannery, Mark J., 2013. "Do personal taxes affect capital structure? Evidence from the 2003 tax cut," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 549-565.
    9. Jesse Edgerton, 2013. "Four facts about dividend payouts and the 2003 tax cut," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(5), pages 769-784, October.
    10. Anthony M. Diercks & William Waller, 2017. "Taxes and the Fed : Theory and Evidence from Equities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-104, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Barclay, Michael J. & Heitzman, Shane M. & Smith, Clifford W., 2013. "Debt and taxes: Evidence from the real estate industry," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 74-93.
    12. Yishuang Xu & Chung Yim Yiu, 2017. "The Impacts of Tax Reforms on REITs. An International Empirical Study," Academic Journal of Economic Studies, Faculty of Finance, Banking and Accountancy Bucharest,"Dimitrie Cantemir" Christian University Bucharest, vol. 3(1), pages 11-22, March.
    13. Winter, Christoph & Kraus, Beatrice, 2016. "Do Tax Changes Affect Credit Markets and Financial Frictions? Evidence from Credit Spreads," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145636, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    14. Jesse Edgerton, 2010. "Effects of the 2003 dividend tax cut: evidence from real estate investment trusts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2006. "Dividend Taxes and Firm Valuation: New Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 119-123, May.

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    Keywords

    Stock - Prices ; Taxation;

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