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Does Financial Constraint Affect Shareholder Taxes And The Cost Of Equity Capital?

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Executive Summary

The authors show that firms with the least elastic demand for equity capital should benefit the most from reductions in shareholder taxes. Consistent with this prediction, they find that, following 1997 and 2003 cuts in U.S. individual shareholder taxes, financially constrained firms, and particularly those with disproportionate ownership by U.S. individuals, enjoyed larger reductions in their cost of equity capital than did other firms. The results are consistent with the incidence of the tax reductions falling mostly on firms with the most pressing needs for capital.

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