New Developments in Corporate Finance and Tax Avoidance: Some Evidence
The financial behavior of corporations has changed greatly in the last ten years. Previously most of the cash that stockholders received from corporations took the form of dividends, and economists' models that have dividends as the ultimate determinant of equity values were not far off the mark. This paper documents how much things have changed. There are strong tax incentives for nondividend cash payments between corporations and shareholders. These payments can take the form of a repurchase by the company of its own shares, or the acquisition of the shares in another company. There has been tremendous growth in the magnitude of nondividend cash payments. In the early 1970s these payments amounted to roughly 15 percent of dividends. By 1984, they exceeded dividends, and in 1985 the amounted to $120 billion, or almost 50 percent more than total dividends in the economy. The paper shows that dividends per unit equity have not fallen. Rather, the acquisition of equity has allowed firms to retain relatively constant debt equity ratios in the past five years despite strong equity markets. Firms have chosen to absorb equity and issue debt, roughly holding leverage constant, and have thus saved large amounts of taxes. The paper estimates that the cost to the Treasury of treating share purchase payments differently than dividends was more than $25 billion in 1985. It also finds that future corporate tax collections are significantly reduced by the resulting decline in corporate equity. The paper suggests that the existing model of dividend driven equity valuation must be discarded. It simply is not consistent with the facts. Further research on the form of payments between firms and their shareholders is clearly merited.
|Date of creation:||Dec 1986|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Feldstein, Martin & Green, Jerry, 1983.
"Why Do Companies Pay Dividends?,"
3204679, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Eades, Kenneth M. & Hess, Patrick J. & Kim, E. Han, 1984. "On interpreting security returns during the ex-dividend period," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 3-34, March.
- Roger H. Gordon, 1982. "Interest Rates, Inflation, and Corporate Financial Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(2), pages 461-491.
- Miller, Merton H & Rock, Kevin, 1985. " Dividend Policy under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1031-51, September.
- 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.
- Ofer, Aharon R & Thakor, Anjan V, 1987.
" A Theory of Stock Price Responses to Alternative Corporate Cash Disbursement Methods: Stock Repurchases and Dividends,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 365-94, June.
- Ahron R. Ofer & Anjan V. Thakor, 2004. "A Theory of Stock Price Responses to Alternative Corporate Cash Disbursement Methods: Stock Repurchase and Dividends," Finance 0411031, EconWPA.
- Williamson, Oliver E, 1971. "The Vertical Integration of Production: Market Failure Considerations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 112-23, May.
- Kraus, Alan & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1973. "A State-Preference Model of Optimal Financial Leverage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 28(4), pages 911-22, September.
- Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1972. "Some Aspects of the Pure Theory of Corporate Finance: Bankruptcies and Take-Overs," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 3(2), pages 458-482, Autumn.
- Robert J. Shiller, 1980.
"Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?,"
NBER Working Papers
0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-36, June.
- Masulis, Ronald W, 1980. " Stock Repurchase by Tender Offer: An Analysis of the Causes of Common Stock Price Changes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 35(2), pages 305-19, May.
- Vermaelen, Theo, 1981. "Common stock repurchases and market signalling : An empirical study," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 139-183, June.
- Elton, Edwin J & Gruber, Martin J, 1970. "Marginal Stockholder Tax Rates and the Clientele Effect," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(1), pages 68-74, February.
- Modigliani, Franco, 1982. " Debt, Dividend Policy, Taxes, Inflation and Market Valuation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(2), pages 255-73, May.
- Charest, Guy, 1978. "Dividend information, stock returns and market efficiency-II," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2-3), pages 297-330.
- Schaefer, Stephen M., 1982. "Tax-induced clientele effects in the market for British government securities : Placing bounds on security values in an incomplete market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 121-159, July.
- 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.
- Auerbach, Alan J, 1983.
"Taxation, Corporate Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 905-40, September.
- Alan J. Auerbach, 1982. "Taxation, Corporate Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital," NBER Working Papers 1026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pettit, R. Richardson, 1977. "Taxes, transactions costs and the clientele effect of dividends," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 419-436, December.
- Kim, E Han, 1978. "A Mean-Variance Theory of Optimal Capital Structure and Corporate Debt Capacity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(1), pages 45-63, March.
- Dennis, Debra K. & McConnell, John J., 1986. "Corporate mergers and security returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 143-187, June.
- Long, John Jr., 1978. "The market valuation of cash dividends : A case to consider," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2-3), pages 235-264.
- Fama, Eugene F, et al, 1969. "The Adjustment of Stock Prices to New Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-21, February.
- Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-75, May.
- Protopapadakis, Aris, 1983. "Some Indirect Evidence on Effective Capital Gains Tax Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 127-38, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2091. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.