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Abstract This article analyzes the effects of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (Obama Tax Increase) and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (Bush Tax Cut) on corporate payout decision and stock returns. Logit and fixed-effect panel data analyses are conducted on all firms listed in NYSE, Amex and NASDAQ in the announcement windows of two, three and four quarters before and after the tax reforms. The results show that the implementation of these tax reforms more persistently affects dividend payments than stock repurchases. It also has a boosting effect on stock returns in the Bush Tax Cut that is 75 % greater than their reducing effect in the Obama Tax Increase, in absolute terms, controlling for dividend payment and stocks repurchase. These effects are robust to different market capitalization sizes. Less solvent firms persistently spend larger dollar amounts in stock repurchases, especially in the announcement of the Bush Tax Cut (+1.11 % per solvency ratio percentage in the [−2Q, +2Q] window). Insolvency is more often significant and with positive impacts on stock returns in the Obama Tax Increase, suggesting that some investors decide to migrate to leveraged-high-growth firms once they realize that some dividend-paying firms could change their dividend policies.


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Journal of Economics and Finance



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Finance Commons



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