Taxes, Firm Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital: An Empirical Analysis
55 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2004 Last revised: 13 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 1982
This paper develops a theoretical model of firm behavior consistent with the maximization of shareholder utility, and derives empirically testable implications of different theories of equity finance. Using data on firm earnings and previous investment and financial behavior, we assess whether firms treat new share issues as a more expensive source of finance than retentions, and whether such behavior varies across firms according to the composition of their shareholders. Our results strongly support the hypothesis that firms perceive a higher cost of capital when issuing new shares, and that the cost of capital varies significantly across firms having different estimated tax clienteles, as theory would predict.
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