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Tax-Motivated Trading by Individual Investors


  • Zoran Ivković
  • James Poterba
  • Scott Weisbenner


We analyze stock trades made by individuals holding stock in both taxable and tax-deferred accounts. By comparing trades across these two types of accounts, we uncover a capital gains lock-in effect in taxable accounts. The lock-in effect is more pronounced for large stock transactions and for stocks held for at least 12 months. Over shorter horizons, the disposition effect outweighs the lock-in effect. Comparison of loss realizations in taxable and tax-deferred accounts yields evidence of tax-loss selling throughout the year. Effective accrual tax rates for stocks that experience substantial appreciation are substantially below the statutory tax rate on long-term gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Zoran Ivković & James Poterba & Scott Weisbenner, 2005. "Tax-Motivated Trading by Individual Investors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1605-1630, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:5:p:1605-1630 Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282805775014461

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household


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