Jake Smith, 
PhD Candidate

Naveen Jindal School of Management | Finance
University of Texas at Dallas

I'm a Finance PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas. My research focuses on empirical corporate finance.

I received a Bachelor of Science in Finance summa cum laude from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee in 2013, and was awarded the distinction of Outstanding Senior in Finance. I then received a Master of Science in Finance from the University of South Florida in 2015.

CV | Email | Google Scholar | SSRN


Working Papers

Tax Avoidance through Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions


We investigate 13,307 cross-border, tax-haven mergers and acquisitions (M&A) from 1990 to 2017, totaling $4.1 trillion in deal value, or about 30% of total cross-border M&A volume. $2.4 of the $4.1 trillion is beyond what is predicted based on a gravity model with economic fundamentals. Tax-haven M&A result in $31.6 billion in recurring annual tax avoidance. To illustrate the magnitude, for a US firm with no prior cross- border M&A history, buying an Irish firm worth 5% of its total assets would result in an expected decline in its effective tax rate of 3.56 percentage points. For identification, we use a change in US tax law in 2004. Following haven acquisitions, firms are more likely to relocate their headquarters to havens. Our results document that tax avoidance through havens is a significant determinant of cross-border M&A.

Conference Presentations

  • 2022 ZEW Public Finance Conference, Mannheim (scheduled)

  • Paris December 2021 Finance Meeting, online

  • 2021 FOM Conference, Hanover

  • 7th IWH-FIN-FIRE Workshop on "Challenges to Financial Stability," Halle (Saale)

  • China International Conference in Finance 2021, Shanghai

  • SFS Cavalcade 2021, online

  • Midwest Finance Association 2021, online

  • Journal of Law, Finance, and Accounting 2020, online

  • European Economic Association 2020, online

  • 10th EIASM Conference on Current Research in Taxation, online

Poster Session

  • American Economic Association 2021, online

The COVID-19 Bailouts

with Jean-Marie Meier

Published as a pre-print in Covid Economics, Issue 83, 2 July 2021.


We use hand-collected data to investigate the COVID-19 bailouts for all publicly listed US firms. The median tax rate is 4% for bailout firms and 16% for no-bailout firms. The bailouts are expensive when compared to past corporate income tax payments of the bailout firms. We compute the number of years a bailout recipient has to pay corporate income tax to generate as much tax revenue as it received in bailouts: 135.0 years for the Paycheck Protection Program and 267.9 years for the airline bailouts. We also document a dark side of the bailouts. For many firms, the bailouts appear to be a windfall. Numerous bailout recipients made risky financial decisions, so bailing them out might induce moral hazard. Moreover, lobbying expenditures positively predict bailout likelihood and amount.

Poster Session

  • American Economic Association 2022, online

Improving the Measurement of Tax Residence: Implications for Research on Corporate Taxation


We highlight an opportunity for improved measurement of a key data item in corporate tax research; a firm’s tax residence. Some countries define tax residence based on a firm’s location of incorporation, some on a firm’s location of headquarters, and some consider both locations. Because no data source exists that provides information on firms’ tax residence, studies typically apply a uniform assignment of either the location of incorporation, headquarters, or center of business activity. We use a novel algorithm that embeds the residency laws of 150 countries to accurately assign tax residence. We reassign the tax residence of a considerable fraction of firms relative to standard assignments in the literature. Reassigned firms are systematically different from other firms along several dimensions, including effective tax rates. We provide evidence that reassignment significantly affects inferences. For instance, for cross-border mergers and acquisitions with a US acquiror, 16% of the deal value involves an acquiror or target that is reassigned.

Conference Presentations

  • 12th EIASM Conference on Current Research in Taxation, online (scheduled)

  • 2022 Financial Markets and Corporate Governance Conference, online