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Incorporation and Taxation: Theory and Firm-level Evidence

  • Peter Egger


  • Christian Keuschnigg


  • Hannes Winner


This paper provides theory and firm-level evidence on the incorporation decision of entrepreneurs in a model of corporate governance and taxation. The theory explains how the incorporation decision of entrepreneurs is driven by taxation (corporate and personal income taxes), corporate transparency, access to external capital and limited liability. We estimate features of this model using a large cross-section of more than 540, 000 firms in European manufacturing. The impact of taxation on the incorporation decision is at the heart of this analysis. We find that higher personal income tax rates and their progression are associated with an increase in the probability of incorporation, while higher corporate tax rates entail an impediment to incorporate. This finding is robust to the inclusion of other economic and institutional determinants and to a variety of functional form assumptions about the latent variable in the estimated discrete choice model.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2008 with number 2008-20.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2008:2008-20
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  1. Gentry, William M., 1994. "Taxes, financial decisions and organizational form : Evidence from publicly traded partnerships," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 223-244, February.
  2. Gordon, Roger H. & MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K., 1994. "Tax distortions to the choice of organizational form," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 279-306, October.
  3. Black, Bernard S. & Gilson, Ronald J., 1998. "Venture capital and the structure of capital markets: banks versus stock markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 243-277, March.
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  5. Roger H. Gordon, 1998. "Can High Personal Tax Rates Encourage Entrepreneurial Activity?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 49-80, March.
  6. Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason & Roger H. Gordon, 1991. "How Much Do Taxes Discourage Incorporation," NBER Working Papers 3781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. John Armour & Douglas Cumming, 2005. "Bankruptcy Law and Entrepreneurship," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp300, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  8. Goolsbee, Austan, 2004. "The impact of the corporate income tax: evidence from state organizational form data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2283-2299, September.
  9. Roger H. Gordon & Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason, 1990. "Effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on Corporate Financial Policy and Organizational Form," NBER Working Papers 3222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2002. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP10/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Peter Egger & Doina Maria Radulescu, 2008. "Labour Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2309, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Jeremy Berkowitz & Michelle J. White, 2004. "Bankruptcy and Small Firms' Access to Credit," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 69-84, Spring.
  13. Andres Almazan & Javier Suarez & Sheridan Titman, 2007. "Firms' Stakeholders and the Costs of Transparency," NBER Working Papers 13647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "Investor Protection and Corporate Governance," Working Paper 19455, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  15. Erik Fjaerli & Diderik Lund, 2001. "The choice between owner's wages and dividends under the dual income tax," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 104-119, Autumn.
  16. Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Theory of Corporate Finance," Post-Print hal-00173191, HAL.
  17. Cullen, Julie Berry & Gordon, Roger H., 2007. "Taxes and entrepreneurial risk-taking: Theory and evidence for the U.S," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1479-1505, August.
  18. Thomas Hellmann & Manju Puri, 2002. "Venture Capital and the Professionalization of Start-Up Firms: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 169-197, 02.
  19. Goolsbee, Austan, 1998. "Taxes, organizational form, and the deadweight loss of the corporate income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 143-152, July.
  20. Jagadeesh Sivadasan & Joel Slemrod, 2006. "Tax Law Changes, Income Shifting and Measured Wage Inequality: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 12240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2007. "Transparency and Corporate Governance," NBER Working Papers 12875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Robert M. Bushman & Joseph D. Piotroski & Abbie J. Smith, 2004. "What Determines Corporate Transparency?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 207-252, 05.
  23. Peter Sørensen, 2005. "Neutral Taxation of Shareholder Income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(6), pages 777-801, November.
  24. John Armour & Douglas Cumming, 2006. "The legislative road to Silicon Valley," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(4), pages 596-635, October.
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