Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

Empirical analysis of corporate tax reforms: what is the null and where did it come from?


Journal of Financial Economics



Authors / Editors

Hennessy C A;Kasahara A;Strebulaev

Publication Year



Absent theoretical guidance, empiricists have been forced to rely upon numerical comparative statics from constant tax rate models in formulating testable implications of tradeoff theory in the context of natural experiments. We fill the theoretical void by solving in closed-form a dynamic tradeoff theoretic model in which corporate taxes follow a Markov process with exogenous rate changes. We simulate ideal difference-in-differences estimations, finding that constant tax rate models offer poor guidance regarding testable implications. While constant rate models predict large symmetric responses to rate changes, our model with stochastic tax rates predicts small, asymmetric, and often statistically insignificant responses. Even with very long regimes (one decade), under plausible parameterizations, the true underlying theory—that taxes matter—is incorrectly rejected in about half the simulated natural experiments. Moreover, tax response coefficients are actually smaller in simulated economies with larger tax-induced welfare losses.

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox


Sign up to receive our latest course information and business thinking

Leave your details above if you would like to receive emails containing the latest thought leadership, invitations to events and news about courses that could enhance your career. If you would prefer not to receive our emails, you can still access the case study by clicking the button below. You can opt-out of receiving our emails at any time by visiting: or by unsubscribing through the link provided in our emails. View our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.