1 Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School2 The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut
The agency model of Chetty and Saez (2010) predicts that firms with stronger corporate governance are more responsive to a dividend tax cut in their dividend and investment policies. We test these predictions by exploiting the sudden and significant dividend tax cut following the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 and the pre-tax cut variation in corporate governance standards across firms. We find that firms with stronger corporate governance raise dividends and reduce investment in response to the tax cut significantly more than firms with weaker corporate governance. These differential reactions come from differences in corporate governance standards but not differences in ownership concentration ratios.