The Role of Managerial Ability in Corporate Tax Avoidance
Management Science, Forthcoming
59 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 21, 2016
Most prior studies model tax avoidance as a function of firm-level characteristics and do not consider how individual executive characteristics affect tax avoidance. This paper investigates whether executives with superior ability to efficiently manage corporate resources engage in greater tax avoidance. Our results show that moving from the lower to upper quartile of managerial ability is associated with a 3.15 (2.50) percent reduction in a firm’s one-year (five-year) cash effective tax rate (ETR). We examine how higher ability managers reduce income tax payments and find they engage in greater state tax planning activities, shift more income to foreign tax havens, make more R&D credit claims, and make greater investments in assets that generate accelerated depreciation deductions. Identifying a manager characteristic related to firms’ tax policy decisions adds to our understanding of the factors that explain the substantial variation in corporate income tax payments across firms.
Keywords: tax avoidance, management style, managerial ability
JEL Classification: G30, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation