Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration


Erik Devos


This study investigates the effects of a tax reform act on the financing and tax planning activities of firms using the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as the experimental setting. This paper examines the changes in debt levels, effective tax rates, use of interest and non-debt tax shields and various tax constructs before and after the tax revision. The results show that debt ratios significantly rise from pre to post event year. Economically, this increase seems significant, as well, as increases in debt ratios range from 1% to 4%. There is also evidence that effective tax rates do decrease after the tax reform. Combined, this suggests that firms increase their debt ratios to keep their interest tax shields constant. Importantly, there are mixed results on the use of non-debt tax shields. It is also found that unrecognized tax benefits increased slightly with a decrease in effective tax rate measures after the enactment of the law. This provides evidence consistent with non-conforming tax behavior of the sample firms. Also there is evidence based on the analysis of industry-wide net unrealized loss (industry intercept) that conditional conservatism exists. Overall, the study shows that tax rates do matter in capital structure and tax planning decisions of firms.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

74 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Tahsina Haque Simu

Available for download on Wednesday, December 31, 2025