Tax avoidance and stock price crash risk: mitigating role of managerial ability

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the quality of management can mitigate the positive association between corporate tax avoidance and firm-specific stock price crash risk (SPCR). Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on data from the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP), Compustat and ExecuComp and focuses on US-listed firms from 1980 to 2016. The authors employ ordinary least squares (OLS) regression as the baseline methodology and use five measures of tax avoidance and three measures of SPCR. Propensity score matching (PSM) and two-stage least squares methodologies are employed to address endogeneity concerns. Findings: The authors find that more able managers weaken the positive relationship between tax avoidance and SPCR. The results suggest that the benefits of efficient tax management are more likely in firms with a more able management team as the likelihood of SPCR due to tax avoidance practices is reduced in such firms. Practical implications: This study has important practical implications for investors who are concerned about firms that engage in tax planning activities that can reduce corporate taxes, but at the same time increase the SPCR. Considering the compelling arguments and the “dark” side of more able managers who may engage in opportunistic behaviour, the study provides useful evidence in support of more able managers. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the SPCR literature by examining the effect of managerial ability on the likelihood of tax avoidance causing SPCR. Able managers are likely to lower the risk faced by investors and are less likely to extract rent and manipulate information. Therefore, the findings of this study have implications for investors by informing them of the negative value implications of tax avoidance and how they can be mitigated by hiring more able managers.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Managerial Finance
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Managerial ability
  • Stock price crash risk
  • Tax avoidance

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