This study investigates whether loosened monitoring from institutional investors affects firm tax planning decisions. We take advantage of shocks to unrelated parts of institutional investors’ portfolios and examine how plausibly exogenous changes in monitoring from institutional investors influence the level of firm tax avoidance. We find that investee firms significantly increase their temporary tax avoidance when there are temporary reductions in the attention of their dedicated institutional investors. Cross-sectional tests show that the tax impact of reduced dedicated investor attention and monitoring intensity is more pronounced when a firm’s information environment is less transparent and when a firm is subject to weaker internal governance. Our findings are robust to alternative research designs.
Bibliographical noteWe gratefully acknowledge constructive comments from Marco Trombetta (the editor), an anonymous reviewer, and conference participants at the 29th Australasian Finance & Banking Conference and seminar participants at City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University, and National Taiwan University. Bing Li and Zhenbin Liu acknowledge partial financial support for this project from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Grant no. CityU 11502017 and Grant no. 12501618, respectively).
- Institutional Investor
- Limited attention
- Tax avoidance