The Vanishing Harberger Triangle
The paper presents a trapped equity model, but instead of studying how taxes affect corporate decisions when a sufficient amount of equity is already in the trap, it asks the question how does the equity get there. To be more specific, the paper analyzes how the double taxation of dividends affects the growth of a corporation that starts with no equity capital. One conclusion is that dividend taxes are distortionary before they are paid, but not when they are paid. Once the firm is in a stage of maturity where it pays dividends and dividend taxes, tax neutrality prevails. Thus the true intersectoral distortion resulting from corporate taxation is negatively correlated with the measured tax burden, and it is lower, the higher the distortion which estimates of Harberger type would predict. Another conclusion is that the King-Fullerton cost of capital formulae are not applicable in the case of immature firms. These formulas are based on the assumption that firms distribute their profits from marginal investment projects as dividends. However, immature firms strictly prefer a reinvestment to a distribution of profits. The reinvestment changes the cost of equity capital, and typically this cost is higher than a hasty application of the King-Fullerton formulas would predict.
|Date of creation:||Jan 1990|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 45, pp. 271-300, (1991). Edited by A.B. Atkinsona and N.H. Stern, UK.|
|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
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215.
- Alan J. Auerbach, 1980.
"Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital,"
NBER Working Papers
0254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mervyn A. King & Don Fullerton, 1984. "The Taxation of Income from Capital: A Comparative Study of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number king84-1, September.
- Mervyn A. King & Don Fullerton, 1984. "Introduction to "The Taxation of Income from Capital: A Comparative Study of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany"," NBER Chapters, in: The Taxation of Income from Capital: A Comparative Study of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mervyn A. King, 1974. "Taxation and the Cost of Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 21-35.
- J. S. S. Edwards & M. J. Keen, 1984. "Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital: A Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(1), pages 211-214.
- James M. Poterba, 1987.
"Tax Policy and Corporate Saving,"
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity,
Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(2), pages 455-516.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3225. 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 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.