Ownership structure and corporate tax avoidance: A structured literature review on archival research

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenÜbersichtsarbeitenForschung


Purpose: To the best of our knowledge, we conduct the first detailed review on the impact of ownership variables on corporate tax avoidance, based on 69 archival studies over the two last decades.
Design/methodology/approach: Referring to an agency-theoretical framework, we differentiate between six categories of ownership (institutional, state, family, foreign, managerial, and cross-ownership/ownership concentration. We also include research on ownership proxies as moderators of other determinants of tax avoidance.
Findings: The review indicates that most research refers to institutional, state, and family ownership. Moreover, except for state ownership, no clear tendencies on the impact of included ownership types can be found in line with our agency-theoretical framework.
Research limitations/implications: Regarding research recommendations, among others, we stress the urgent need for recognizing heterogeneity within and interactions between ownership proxies. Researchers should also properly address endogeneity concerns by advanced econometric models (e.g., by the difference-in-difference-approach).
Practical implications: As international standard setters have implemented massive reform initiatives on both tax avoidance and corporate governance, this literature review underlines the huge interaction between those topics. Firms should carefully analyse their ownership structure and change their tax planning due to owners’ individual tax preferences.
Originality/value: This analysis makes useful contributions to prior research by focussing on six categories of ownership and their impact on tax avoidance in (multinational) firms and moderating effects. We provide a detailed overview about current archival research and like to guide researchers to focus on ownership heterogeneity and endogeneity concerns.
ZeitschriftJournal of Applied Accounting Research
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung - 18.09.2023

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