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Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital


  • Alan J. Auerbach


In this paper we explore the issue of wealth maximization and the implied behavior of the firm, paying particular attention to the results discussed above and how they are affected by the existence of capital income taxes. Our results indicate that a tax structure similar to that in existence in the United States influences the cost of capital in a very different way than has been assumed previously and that the relative advantages of debt over equity as a method of finance, and capital gains over dividends as a vehicle for personal realization of corporate profits, may have been greatly overstated. These findings may help to explain certain aspects of corporate financial behavior that have seemed puzzling.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan J. Auerbach, 1980. "Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital," NBER Working Papers 0254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0254
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bradford, David F., 1981. "The incidence and allocation effects of a tax on corporate distributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-22, February.
    2. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    3. Martin Feldstein & Jerry Green & Eytan Sheshinski, 1979. "Corporate Financial Policy and Taxation in a Growing Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 411-432.
    4. Auerbach, Alan J., 1979. "Share valuation and corporate equity policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 291-305, June.
    5. Stapleton, R C, 1972. "Taxes, the Cost of Capital and the Theory of Investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(328), pages 1273-1292, December.
    6. Mervyn A. King, 1974. "Taxation and the Cost of Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 21-35.
    7. Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-275, May.
    8. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1973. "Taxation, corporate financial policy, and the cost of capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-34, February.
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