Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 841:
Does the Debt Tax Shield Distort Ownership Efficiency?

Pehr-Johan Norbäck (), Lars Persson () and Joacim Tåg ()

Abstract: The tax laws of most developed countries are debt biased since firms can deduct interest on debt but not on equity. This bias is known to distort investment decisions. However, less is known about how the debt tax shield affects the ownership of assets when bidders differ financial expertise and thus in optimal use of leverage. We show that the debt tax shield need not always distort ownership efficiency. Assets end up with the socially preferred owner when differences in financial and productive expertise between bidders are small and better financial expertise reduces expected bankruptcy costs.

Keywords: Acquisitions; Capital Gains Tax; Corporate Tax; LBOs; Mergers and Acquisitions; Ownership; Private Equity; Tax Shields; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D20; G32; G33; G34; H25; H32; L19; L22; (follow links to similar papers)

17 pages, June 11, 2010, Revised September 22, 2017

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This paper is forthcoming as:
Norbäck, Pehr-Johan, Lars Persson and Joacim Tåg, 'Does the Debt Tax Shield Distort Ownership Efficiency?', International Review of Economics and Finance.

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