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Tax Policy and Heterogeneous Investment Behavior

Eric Zwick and James Mahon

American Economic Review, 2017, vol. 107, issue 1, 217-48

Abstract: We estimate the effect of temporary tax incentives on equipment investment using shifts in accelerated depreciation. Analyzing data for over 120,000 firms, we present three findings. First, bonus depreciation raised investment in eligible capital relative to ineligible capital by 10.4 percent between 2001 and 2004 and 16.9 percent between 2008 and 2010. Second, small firms respond 95 percent more than big firms. Third, firms respond strongly when the policy generates immediate cash flows, but not when cash flows only come in the future. This heterogeneity materially affects investment-weighted estimates and supports models in which financial frictions or fixed costs amplify investment responses.

JEL-codes: D21 D22 D92 G31 H25 H32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20140855
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