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Capital Tax Reform and the Real Economy: The Effects of the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut

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  • Danny Yagan

Abstract

This paper tests whether the 2003 dividend tax cut—one of the largest reforms ever to a U.S. capital tax rate—stimulated corporate investment and increased labor earnings, using a quasi-experimental design and U.S. corporate tax returns from years 1996-2008. I estimate that the tax cut caused zero change in corporate investment and employee compensation. Economically, the statistical precision challenges leading estimates of the cost-of-capital elasticity of investment, or undermines models in which dividend tax reforms affect the cost of capital. Either way, it may be difficult to implement an alternative dividend tax cut that has substantially larger near-term effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Danny Yagan, 2015. "Capital Tax Reform and the Real Economy: The Effects of the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," NBER Working Papers 21003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21003
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    JEL classification:

    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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