Is Simple better? A Conjoint Analysis of the Effects of Tax Complexity on Employee Preferences Regarding Company Pension Plans
- K. Blaufus, R. Ortlieb.
- Schmalenbach Business Review 61 (1): 60 – 83.
It is well-known that taxes affect risky investment decisions. Analytical studies indicate that tax rate increases (decreases) can foster (hinder) investment if there is flexibility, in particular when an exit option is available. We design an experiment based on an analytical model with binomial random walk and entry and exit flexibility. Contrasting the underlying model, we find accelerated investment, which is often considered as an increased willingness to invest, on tax rate increases to be independent of the existence of an exit option. However, we observe this investor reaction only for a tax increase, not for a tax decrease. This behavior is driven possibly by tax salience and the mechanisms known from the theory of irreversible choice under uncertainty. Our empirical evidence suggests that the at-first-sight unexpected tax reform effects are more common than is predicted by the theoretical literature. Policy makers should therefore carefully consider the behavioral aspects when anticipating taxpayer reactions. JEL Classification: H25, H21, C91