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New Evidence that Taxes Affect the Valuation of Dividends

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  • James M. Poterba
  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

This paper uses British data to examine the effects of dividend taxes on investors' relative valuation of dividends and capital gains. British data offer great potential to illuminate the dividends and taxes question, since there have been two radical changes and several minor reforms in British dividend tax policy during the last twenty-five years. Studying the relationship between dividends and stockprice movements during different tax regimes offers an ideal controlled experiment for assessing the effects of taxes on investors' valuation of dividends. Using daily data on a small sample of firms, and monthly data on a much broader sample, we find clear evidence that taxes change equilibrium relationships between dividend yields and market returns. These findings suggest that taxes are important determinants of security market equilibrium, and deepen the puzzle of why firms pay dividends.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "New Evidence that Taxes Affect the Valuation of Dividends," NBER Working Papers 1288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1288 Note: PE
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    1. Feldstein, Martin & Dicks-Mireaux, Louis & Poterba, James, 1983. "The effective tax rate and the pretax rate of return," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 129-158, July.
    2. Miller, Merton H. & Scholes, Myron S., 1978. "Dividends and taxes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 333-364, December.
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    5. Roger H. Gordon & David F. Bradford, 1980. "Taxation and the stock market valuation of capital gains and dividends : Theory and emphirical results," NBER Chapters,in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 109-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," Working papers 343, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    7. Feenberg, Daniel, 1981. "Does the investment interest limitation explain the existence of dividends?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 265-269, September.
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    13. Auerbach, Alan J., 1983. "Stockholder tax rates and firm attributes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 107-127, July.
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