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Tax enforcement and corporate employment: Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in China

Guanchun Liu, Yuanyuan Liu and Chengsi Zhang ()

China Economic Review, 2022, vol. 73, issue C

Abstract: This study investigates how tax enforcement affects corporate employment in China. We utilize the merger of the State Tax Bureau and Local Tax Bureaus as a quasi-natural experiment and adopt a difference-in-differences framework to identify causality. The results show that tougher tax enforcement has a significant and negative effect on corporate employment and that this effect is more pronounced for firms with higher labor intensity, greater financial constraints, more severe labor market frictions, a lower initial tax rate, lower tax transfer ability, and greater credit market imperfections. Further, the mechanism tests demonstrate that tougher tax enforcement leads to increases in the effective income tax rate, cash holdings, and the cash flow sensitivity of real investment but decreases in accounts receivable and dividend payments. These results are consistent with the liquidity constraints channel. In addition, we exclude several alternative explanations and conduct a series of robustness checks. Overall, our findings indicate that corporate tax enforcement has large effects on the local labor demand, which provides some useful insights for local governments to stabilize employment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Tax enforcement; Corporate employment; Liquidity constraints; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2022.101771

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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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