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Taxation and the Evolution of Aggregate Corporate Ownership Concentration

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  • Mihir A. Desai
  • Dhammika Dharmapala
  • Winnie Fung

Abstract

Legal rules, politics and behavioral factors have all been emphasized as explanatory factors in analyses of the determinants of the concentration of corporate ownership and stock market participation. An extension of standard tax clientele arguments demonstrates that changes in the progressivity of taxes can also significantly influence patterns of equity ownership. A novel index of the concentration of corporate ownership over the twentieth century in the U.S. provides the opportunity to quantitatively test for the role of taxes in shaping ownership concentration. The index of ownership concentration is characterized by considerable time series variation, with significant diffusion of ownership in the post WWII era and reconcentration in the late 1990s. Analysis of this index indicates that the progressivity of taxation significantly influences corporate ownership concentration and equity market participation as predicted by the model. This evidence supports the intuition of Berle and Means (1932) that taxation can significantly influence patterns of equity ownership.

Suggested Citation

  • Mihir A. Desai & Dhammika Dharmapala & Winnie Fung, 2005. "Taxation and the Evolution of Aggregate Corporate Ownership Concentration," NBER Working Papers 11469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11469
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    Cited by:

    1. Leslie Hannah, 2007. "The Divorce of Ownership from Control from 1900: Re-calibrating Imagined Global Historical Trends," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-460, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Zoran Ivkovic & Paul A. Smith & Scott Weisbenner, 2008. "Neighbors Matter: Causal Community Effects and Stock Market Participation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1509-1531, June.
    3. Langlois, Richard N., 2013. "Business groups and the natural state," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 14-26.
    4. RĂ¼nger, Silke, 2011. "The effect of Germany's Tax Reform Act 2001 on corporate ownership: Insights from disposals of minority blocks," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 114, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    5. Rydqvist, Kristian & Spizman, Joshua & Strebulaev, Ilya, 2014. "Government policy and ownership of equity securities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 70-85.
    6. Christian Keuschnigg & Evelyn Ribi, 2010. "Business Taxation, Corporate Finance and Economic Performance," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-04, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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