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Capital Gains Holding Periods and Equity Trading: Evidence from the 1998 Tax Act

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  • Jennifer L. Blouin
  • Jana Smith Raedy
  • Douglas A. Shackelford

Abstract

This paper exploits an unusually powerful setting to explore a choice many individual investors face regularly the decision to sell today or postpone selling until lower rates are available in the future. We examine trading volume and stock returns around the 1998 reduction in the holding period required for individual investors to receive the most favorable long-term capital gains tax rate. For firms whose initial public shareholders were affected by the legislation, we find trading volume increasing and share returns decreasing in past price performance on the day the legislation was publicly disclosed. The results are consistent with capital gains holding periods distorting markets sufficiently that if investors are permitted to liquidate appreciated positions at favorable rates, enough will sell immediately to move prices. To our knowledge, this is the first study linking trading volume and security prices to a change in capital gains holding periods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7827.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7827

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  1. James M. Poterba, 2001. "Capital Gains Tax Rules, Tax-loss Trading, and Turn-of-the-year Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 353-368, 02.
  2. Klein, Peter, 1999. "The capital gain lock-in effect and equilibrium returns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 355-378, March.
  3. Landsman, Wayne R. & Shackelford, Douglas A., 1995. "The Lock-In Effect of Capital Gains Taxes: Evidence from the RJR Nabisco Leveraged Buyout," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 245-259, June Cita.
  4. Amoako-Adu, Ben & Rashid, M. & Stebbins, M., 1992. "Capital gains tax and equity values: Empirical test of stock price reaction to the introduction and reduction of capital gains tax exemption," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 275-287, April.
  5. Jennifer L. Blouin & Jana Smith Raedy & Douglas A. Shackelford, 2000. "Capital Gains Taxes and Stock Reactions to Quarterly Earnings Announcements," NBER Working Papers 7644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  7. William A. Reese, Jr., 1998. "Capital Gains Taxation and Stock Market Activity: Evidence from IPOs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1799-1819, October.
  8. Landsman, Wayne R. & Shackelford, Douglas A. & Yetman, Robert J., 2002. "The determinants of capital gains tax compliance: evidence from the RJR Nabisco leveraged buyout," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 47-74, April.
  9. Douglas A. Shackelford & Robert E. Verrecchia, 1999. "Intertemporal Tax Discontinuities," NBER Working Papers 7451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Guenther, David A. & Willenborg, Michael, 1999. "Capital gains tax rates and the cost of capital for small business: evidence from the IPO market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 385-408, September.
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