The Role of Taxes in the Disconnect between Corporate Performance and Economic Growth
48 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2016 Last revised: 15 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 10, 2019
We investigate the relation between corporate performance and overall economic growth in the United States. In particular, we focus on the impact of the U.S. corporate tax regime on this relation. Exploiting time-series variation and a tax shock, we document that the relatively higher corporate income tax rate and the tax treatment of foreign earnings of U.S. corporations have contributed to a disconnect between the performance of the corporate sector and the overall economy. Specifically, the growth of domestic (national) corporate profits, on average, has outpaced the growth of the domestic (national) economy, and this disconnect increases as the difference between the U.S. corporate income tax rate and the average tax rate of the other OECD countries increases. The underlying mechanism is fewer corporate profits being channeled into subsequent domestic investments when the U.S. tax rate is relatively higher, leading to lower economic growth. Our findings have implications for policy setters.
Keywords: Taxes, economic growth, GDP, corporate profits, American Jobs Creation Act of 2004
JEL Classification: E20, H25, K34, O10, M40, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation