Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2012

Payout Taxes and the Allocation of Investment

Abstract

When corporate payout is taxed, internal equity (retained earnings) is cheaper than external equity (share issues). If there are no perfect substitutes for equity finance, payout taxes may therefore have an effect on the investment of firms. High taxes will favor investment by firms who can finance internally. Using an international panel with many changes in payout taxes, we show that this prediction holds well. Payout taxes have a large impact on the dynamics of corporate investment and growth. Investment is "locked in" in profitable firms when payout is heavily taxed. Thus, apart from any level effects, payout taxes change the allocation of capital.

Keywords: Business Earnings; Equity; Financing and Loans; Investment; Taxation; Business and Shareholder Relations; Motivation and Incentives;

Citation:

Becker, Bo, Marcus Jacob, and Martin Jacob. "Payout Taxes and the Allocation of Investment." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 11-040, October 2010. (Revised November 2010, March 2011, September 2011, April 2012.)