Curbing Corporate Debt Bias

Author/Editor:

Ruud A. de Mooij ; Shafik Hebous

Publication Date:

January 30, 2017

Electronic Access:

Free Full Text (PDF file size is 668 KB).Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

Summary:

Tax provisions favoring corporate debt over equity finance (“debt bias”) are widely recognized as a risk to financial stability. This paper explores whether and how thin-capitalization rules, which restrict interest deductibility beyond a certain amount, affect corporate debt ratios and mitigate financial stability risk. We find that rules targeted at related party borrowing (the majority of today’s rules) have no significant impact on debt bias—which relates to third-party borrowing. Also, these rules have no effect on broader indicators of firm financial distress. Rules applying to all debt, in contrast, turn out to be effective: the presence of such a rule reduces the debt-asset ratio in an average company by 5 percentage points; and they reduce the probability for a firm to be in financial distress by 5 percent. Debt ratios are found to be more responsive to thin capitalization rules in industries characterized by a high share of tangible assets.

Series:

Working Paper No. 17/22

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

January 30, 2017

ISBN/ISSN:

9781475573053/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2017022

Price:

$18.00 (Academic Rate:$18.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

20

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