Did the 2003 Tax Act Increase Capital Investments by Corporations?
John L. Campbell
University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting
University of Tennessee
Dan S. Dhaliwal
University of Arizona - Department of Accounting
William C. Schwartz Jr.
Oklahoma State University
April 15, 2013
Journal of American Taxation Association, Vol. 35, No. 2, October 2013: 33-63
On May 28, 2003, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (2003 Tax Act) reduced shareholder-level taxes on dividends and capital gains. One of the goals of the 2003 Tax Act was to encourage capital investment by corporations. We investigate whether firms increased investment in response to the Act. We first document that capital expenditures increase after the 2003 Tax Act. We then use a difference-in-differences research design to show that this increase in capital expenditures varies predictably with two shareholder-level tax-motivated hypotheses. First, we find that the increase in investment is smaller for firms largely held by investors that are less sensitive to shareholder-level taxes. Second, we find that the increase in investment is larger for firms most likely to fund investment from new equity issuances rather than internal funds. Additional analysis suggests that while the majority of firms increase investment after the tax cut, a small subset of larger, older, and cash-rich firms increased dividend payout instead. Overall, our results suggest that, consistent with the intent of policymakers, the shareholder-level tax rate reductions set forth in the 2003 Tax Act increased corporate investment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: investment, cost of capital, institutional ownership, shareholder taxes
JEL Classification: G12, G31, G32, H24
Date posted: January 5, 2010 ; Last revised: October 29, 2013