Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #534

Corporate Taxation and Investment: Evidence from the Belgian ACE Reform

by Nils aus dem Moore

RWI, 12/2014, 38 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-611-6 DOI: 10.4419/86788611

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Abstract

We contribute to the empirical literature on the relationship between corporate taxes and investment. We exploit the introduction of the so-called ACE corporate tax reform in Belgium that came into effect in January 2006 to evaluate this relationship in a quasiexperimental setting based on firm-level accounting data. To identify the causal effect of the reform on capital spending of Belgian corporations, we focus on the indirect effect of taxes on investment via their impact on free cash-flow. We use the systematic variation of the cash-flow sensitivity of investment between small and medium versus large firms to form treatment and control groups for difference-in-differences (DiD) estimations. Our benchmark results provide highly significant and robust estimates that correspond to an increase in investment activity by small and medium-sized firms of about 3 percent in response to the ACE reform. We substantiate the robustness of our results by means of triple differences estimations (DDD) that use a matched sample of French companies as an additional dimension of contrast.

JEL-Classification: H25, H32, H22, G31

Keywords: Corporate income taxation; investment; capital budgeting; allowance for corporate equity; difference-in-differences

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