Prof. Roni Michaely’s research paper “Consumption Taxes and Corporate Investment”; with Martin Jacob and Maximilian Mueller, from WHU), has been accepted to the Review of Financial Studies.
While consumers nominally pay the consumption tax, theoretical and empirical evidence is mixed on whether corporations partly shoulder this burden, thereby, affecting corporate investment. Using a quasi-natural experiment, we show that consumption taxes decrease investment. Firms facing more elastic demand decrease investment more strongly because they bear more of the consumption tax. We corroborate the validity of our findings using 86 consumption tax changes in a cross-country panel. We document two mechanisms underlying the investment response: reduced firms’ profitability and lower aggregate consumption. Importantly, the magnitude of the investment response to consumption taxes is similar to that of corporate taxes.