Equity Risk Incentives and Corporate Tax Aggressiveness
Sonja O. Rego
Indiana University - Kelley School of Business
Ryan J. Wilson
University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business
Journal of Accounting Research, Forthcoming
This study examines equity risk incentives as one determinant of corporate tax aggressiveness. Prior research finds that equity risk incentives motivate managers to make risky investment and financing decisions, since risky activities increase stock return volatility and the value of stock option portfolios. Aggressive tax strategies involve significant uncertainty and can impose costs on both firms and managers. As a result, managers must be incentivized to engage in risky tax avoidance that is expected to generate net benefits for the firm and its shareholders. We predict that equity risk incentives motivate managers to undertake risky tax strategies. Consistent with this prediction we find that larger equity risk incentives are associated with greater tax risk and the magnitude of this effect is economically significant. Our results are robust across four measures of tax risk, but do not vary across several proxies for strength of corporate governance. We conclude that equity risk incentives are a significant determinant of corporate tax aggressiveness.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: Tax Risk, Tax Aggressiveness, Equity Risk Incentives, Executive Compensation
JEL Classification: M41, H25, J33, M52, G34Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 4, 2009 ; Last revised: December 5, 2011
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