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Corporate tax asymmetries and R&D: Evidence from a tax reform for business groups in Japan

Author

Listed:
  • Masanori Orihara

    (Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance,Japan)

Abstract

Economic theory dating back to Domar and Musgrave (1944, Quarterly Journal of Economics 58, 388-422) suggests that the tax treatment of gains and losses can affect incentives for firms to undertake high-risk investments. We take advantage of a 2002 tax reform in Japan as a natural experiment to test the theory. This tax reform introduced a consolidated taxation system (CTS). The CTS allows business groups to offset gains with losses across firms in their group. Thus, the CTS can mitigate disincentives to high-risk investments. Using information on R&D as the investment risk measures, we estimate dynamic investment models with unique panel data of Japanese firms between 1994 and 2012. For identification, we take an instrumental variable approach in a difference-in-differences framework or in a triple-differences framework. We provide evidence that the CTS increases R&D, in agreement with Domar and Musgrave (1944). We also find evidence that the CTS enhances risk-sharing across group members and across asset types. These findings suggest that mitigating tax asymmetries is an effective policy to help encourage both risk-taking and risk-sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Masanori Orihara, "undated". "Corporate tax asymmetries and R&D: Evidence from a tax reform for business groups in Japan," Discussion papers ron273, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan.
  • Handle: RePEc:mof:wpaper:ron273
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax asymmetries; R&D; business group; risk-taking; risk-sharing; natural experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • 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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