The Role of Creditor Protection in Lending and Tax Avoidance
65 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2021
Date Written: November 9, 2020
We examine how creditor rights affect the trade-off between non-debt and debt tax shields. Using four bankruptcy reforms, a panel of private and public firms, and tax return data from Italy, we show that laws empowering creditors reduce tax avoidance and increase debt financing, consistent with firms substituting non-debt tax shields with debt tax shields. We corroborate the validity of our findings using a panel of public firms across 33 countries. We document that the impact of creditor protection laws is mitigated by tax system characteristics, which significantly reduce the incentives to substitute tax avoidance with debt.
Keywords: government policy and regulation, bankruptcy, debt, capital structure, tax avoidance
JEL Classification: G28; G32; G33; H26; K34; M41
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