IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/12514.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Temporary Investment Tax Incentives: Theory with Evidence from Bonus Depreciation

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher House
  • Matthew D. Shapiro

Abstract

Investment decisions are inherently forward-looking. The payoff of acquiring capital goods, particularly long-lived capital goods, is governed almost exclusively by events in the far future. Because the timing of the investment itself does not affect future payoffs, there are strong incentives to delay or accelerate investment to take advantage of predictable intertemporal variations in cost. For sufficiently long-lived capital goods, these incentives are so strong that the intertemporal elasticity of investment demand is nearly infinite. As a consequence, for a temporary tax change, the shadow price of long-lived capital goods must reflect the full tax subsidy regardless of the elasticity of investment supply. While price data provide no information on the elasticity of supply, they can reveal the extent to which adjustment costs are internal or external to the firm. In contrast, the elasticity of investment supply can be inferred from quantity data alone. The bonus depreciation allowance passed in 2002 and increased in 2003 presents an opportunity to test the sharp predictions of neoclassical investment theory. In the law, certain types of long-lived capital goods qualify for substantial tax subsides while others do not. The data show that investment in qualified properties was substantially higher than for unqualified property. The estimated elasticity of investment supply is high--between 10 and 20. Market prices do not react to the subsidy as the theory dictates. This suggests either that internal (unmeasured) adjustment costs play a significant role or that measurement problems in the price data effectively conceal the price changes. While the policy noticeably increased investment in types of capital that benefited substantially from bonus depreciation, the aggregate effects of the policy were modest. The analysis suggests that the policy may have increased output by roughly 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent and increased employment by roughly 100,000 to 200,000 jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher House & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2006. "Temporary Investment Tax Incentives: Theory with Evidence from Bonus Depreciation," NBER Working Papers 12514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12514
    Note: EFG ME PE PR
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12514.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy Erickson & Toni M. Whited, 2000. "Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1027-1057, October.
    2. Mussa, Michael L, 1977. "External and Internal Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Aggregate and Firm Investment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(174), pages 163-178, May.
    3. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 513-542.
    4. Matthew D. Shapiro & Christopher L. House, 2006. "Phased-In Tax Cuts and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1835-1849, December.
    5. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    7. Henry S. Farber, 2003. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply Of New York Cab Drivers," Working Papers 110, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    8. repec:pri:cepsud:92farber is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Alan J. Auerbach & James R. Hines, Jr., 1987. "Anticipated Tax Changes and the Timing of Investment," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 163-200 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Henry S. Farber, 2003. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cab Drivers," Working Papers 852, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    13. Henry Farber, 2003. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York Cab Drivers," NBER Working Papers 9706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Darrel Cohen & Jason G. Cummins, 2006. "A retrospective evaluation of the effects of temporary partial expensing," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2008. "Labor Supply: Are the Income and Substitution Effects Both Large or Both Small?," NBER Working Papers 14208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Henry S. Farber, 2003. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cab Drivers," Working Papers 852, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    17. Hulten, Charles R. & Wykoff, Frank C., 1981. "The estimation of economic depreciation using vintage asset prices : An application of the Box-Cox power transformation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 367-396, April.
    18. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
    19. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
    20. Abel, Andrew B., 1982. "Dynamic effects of permanent and temporary tax policies in a q model of investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 353-373.
    21. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "Investment Tax Incentives, Prices, and the Supply of Capital Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 121-148.
    22. Jonathan N. Millar, 2005. "Gestation lags and the relationship between investment and Q in regressions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    23. Robert E. Hall, 2004. "Measuring Factor Adjustment Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 899-927.
    24. Cohen, Darrel S. & Hansen, Dorthe-Pernille & Hassett, Kevin A., 2002. "The Effects of Temporary Partial Expensing on Investment Incentives in the United States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(3), pages 457-466, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:nbr:nberwo:12514. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.