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Recent U.S. Investment Behavior and the Tax Reform Act of 1986: A Disaggregate View

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  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • Kevin Hassett

Abstract

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was expected to cause an overall decline in business fixed investment and a shift in the composition of investment away from machinery and equipment, which previously had received an investment tax credit. Yet neither investment relative to GNP nor equipment investment relative to total investment declined during the period 1987-89. This paper's analysis of investment at the level of individual industries and assets helps reconcile the recent pattern of investment and the predicted effects of the Tax Reform Act. We find that the trend toward investment in equipment predated the Act, and that recent investment in equipment has fallen short of what would have been expected on the basis on nontax factors alone. Using a new technique to identify the impact of taxation on investment, we confirm the importance of tax policy using the cross-section pattern of equipment investment since 1986.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin Hassett, 1991. "Recent U.S. Investment Behavior and the Tax Reform Act of 1986: A Disaggregate View," NBER Working Papers 3626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3626
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Auerbach, Alan J & Hines, James R, Jr, 1988. "Investment Tax Incentives and Frequent Tax Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 211-216, May.
    2. repec:fth:harver:1465 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Barro, Robert J, 1977. "Unanticipated Money Growth and Unemployment in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 101-115, March.
    4. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
    5. Barry P. Bosworth, 1985. "Taxes and the Investment Recovery," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 1-45.
    6. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-247, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bayoumi, Tamim & Gagnon, Joseph, 1996. "Taxation and inflation: A new explanation for capital flows," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 303-330, October.
    2. Goolsbee, Austan, 2004. "Taxes and the quality of capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 519-543, March.
    3. Edgerton, Jesse, 2010. "Investment incentives and corporate tax asymmetries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 936-952, December.
    4. Hamaaki, Junya, 2008. "Investment responses to Japanese tax reforms: A cross-industry comparison," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 542-562, December.
    5. Cummins, Jason G. & Hassett, Kevin A. & Hubbard, R. Glenn, 1996. "Tax reforms and investment: A cross-country comparison," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 237-273, October.
    6. Park, Jongsang, 2016. "The impact of depreciation savings on investment: Evidence from the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 87-104.
    7. Zee, Howell H. & Stotsky, Janet G. & Ley, Eduardo, 2002. "Tax Incentives for Business Investment: A Primer for Policy Makers in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1497-1516, September.

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