The Unintended Consequence of Land Finance: Evidence from Corporate Tax Avoidance
Management Science, forthcoming
47 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2018 Last revised: 15 Sep 2021
Date Written: October 10, 2018
Using a large sample of unlisted industrial firms in China, we find that a decrease in local governments’ land transfer revenues leads to lower tax avoidance by firms within their jurisdiction. Our cross-sectional variation tests suggest that the tax-avoidance-reduction effect is stronger in cities with higher land finance dependence and government intervention, and where the political leaders have stronger promotion incentives. However, the effect is moderated for politically connected firms. Further analysis reveals that intensified tax enforcement is the mechanism through which land transfer revenue losses result in decreased tax avoidance. Our study offers novel evidence on a previously under-explored determinant of corporate tax avoidance through the lens of land finance.
Keywords: Land finance, Tax avoidance, Political incentives, Tax enforcement
JEL Classification: G38, M48, H26, H71
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