Over at Equitable Growth: North Atlantic Bond Markets and the Near-Term Macroeconomic Outlook
Evening Must-Read: Shane Ferro: Robots Won't Save Us From Secular Stagnation

Lunchtime Must-Read: Danny Yagan: Capital Taxes and the Real Economy: The 2003 Dividend Tax Cut

Mike Konczal sends us to:

Danny Yagan: Capital Taxes and the Real Economy: The 2003 Dividend Tax Cut: "Policymakers frequently propose to use capital tax reform...

...to stimulate investment and increase labor earnings. This paper tests for such real impacts of the 2003 dividend tax cutó one of the largest reforms ever to a U.S. capital tax rateó using a quasi-experimental design and a large sample of U.S. corporate tax returns from years 1996-2008. I estimate that the tax cut caused zero change in corporate investment, with an upper bound elasticity with respect to one minus the top statutory tax rate of .08 and an upper bound e§ect size of .03 standard deviations. This null result is robust across specifications, samples, and investment measures. I similarly find no impact on employee compensation.

The lack of detectable real effects contrasts with an immediate impact on financial payouts to shareholders. Economically, the findings challenge leading estimates of the cost-of-capital elasticity of investment, or undermine models in which dividend tax reforms a§ect the cost of capital. Either way, it may be difficult for policymakers to implement an alternative dividend tax cut that has substantially larger near-term effects.