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Do country risk factors attenuate the effect of taxes on corporate risk-taking?

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  • Osswald, Benjamin
  • Sureth, Caren

Abstract

This study examines whether country-specific risk attenuates the association between tax policies and corporate risk-taking. We define country-specific risk (political and fiscal budget risk) as taxpayer's risk that tax refunds on losses cannot be paid due to the institutional environment or fiscal reasons. We exploit a cross-country panel with 234 changes in corporate tax rates and 49 changes in loss offset rules. We investigate whether government risk-sharing via loss offset rules and tax rates affects risk-taking conditional on country risk. We also examine whether tax rate changes, that scale the risk-sharing effect, influence the propensity to conduct risky projects in different country-level risk environments. Our results suggest that country-level risk fully attenuates the previously documented association between tax policies and corporate risk-taking. It attenuates both the effectiveness of loss offset rules and tax rate changes on corporate risk-taking. While changes in tax policy are attractive to policymakers because alternative instruments to encourage risk-taking cannot as easily be adjusted, we provide significant evidence that country risk considerably limits policymakers' ability to induce firm risk-taking via changes in tax policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Osswald, Benjamin & Sureth, Caren, 2018. "Do country risk factors attenuate the effect of taxes on corporate risk-taking?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 235, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:arqudp:235
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    Keywords

    corporate risk-taking; country risk; cross-country study; fiscal risk; risky investments;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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