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Tax policy and international capital flows

  • Martin Feldstein

Although capital is now generally free to move across national borders, there is strong evidence that savings tend to remain and to be invested in the country where the saving takes place. The current paper examines the apparent conflict between the potential mobility of capital and the observed de facto segmentation of the global capital market. The key to reconciling this 'Feldstein-Horioka paradox' is that, although capital is free to move, its owners, and especially the agents who are responsible for institutional investments, prefer to keep funds close to home because of a combination of risk aversion, ignorance and a desire to show prudence in their investing behavior. The paper presents evidence on the capital mobility and on capital market segmentation. The role of hedging and the difference between gross and net capital movements for individual investors and borrowers are discussed. The special place of foreign direct investment is also considered. The segmentation of the global capital market affects the impact of capital income taxes and subsidies. This is discussed in the final section of the paper

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/BF02707531
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Article provided by Springer & Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy) in its journal Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv.

Volume (Year): 130 (1994)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 675-697

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Handle: RePEc:spr:weltar:v:130:y:1994:i:4:p:675-697
DOI: 10.1007/BF02707531
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  1. Martin S. Feldstein, 1995. "The Effects of Outbound Foreign Direct Investment on the Domestic Capital Stock," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Multinational Corporations, pages 43-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael Mussa & Morris Goldstein, 1993. "The integration of world capital markets," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 245-330.
  3. Kenneth A. Froot, 1993. "Currency Hedging over Long Horizons," NBER Working Papers 4355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Eichengreen, Barry, 1990. "Trends and Cycles in Foreign Lending," CEPR Discussion Papers 451, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Feldstein, Martin, 1983. "Domestic saving and international capital movements in the long run and the short run," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 129-151.
  6. Gordon, R.H. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1994. "Why Is Capital So Immobile Internationally?: Possible Explanations and Implications for Capital Income Taxation," Working Papers 358, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  7. Kenneth R. French & James M. Poterba, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 3609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. William C. Brainard & James Tobin, 1991. "On the Internationalization of Portfolios," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 991, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Tesar, Linda L., 1991. "Savings, investment and international capital flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 55-78, August.
  10. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Tax Policy and International Competitiveness," NBER Working Papers 2007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sinn, Stefan, 1992. "Saving-Investment Correlations and Capital Mobility: On the Evidence from Annual Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1162-70, September.
  12. Feldstein, Martin S, 1978. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages S29-51, April.
  13. Harvey, Campbell R, 1995. "Predictable Risk and Returns in Emerging Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(3), pages 773-816.
  14. Martin Feldstein & Philippe Bacchetta, 1991. "National Saving and International Investment," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 201-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1984. " Are Real Interest Rates Equal across Countries? An Empirical Investigation of International Parity Conditions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(5), pages 1345-57, December.
  16. Gordon, Roger H, 1986. "Taxation of Investment and Savings in a World Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1086-1102, December.
  17. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1991. "Quantifying International Capital Mobility in the 1980s," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 227-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "Taxes, Leverage and the National Return on Outbound Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 4689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  20. Murphy, Robert G., 1984. "Capital mobility and the relationship between saving and investment rates in OECD countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 327-342, December.
  21. Baxter, Marianne & Crucini, Mario J, 1993. "Explaining Saving-Investment Correlations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 416-36, June.
  22. Maurice Obstfeld., 1994. "International Capital Mobility in the 1990s," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C94-037, University of California at Berkeley.
  23. Thomas Horst, 1980. "A Note on the Optimal Taxation of International Investment Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 793-798.
  24. Michael Dooley & Jeffrey Frankel & Donald J. Mathieson, 1987. "International Capital Mobility: What Do Saving-Investment Correlations Tell Us?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(3), pages 503-530, September.
  25. French, Kenneth R. & Poterba, James M., 1990. "Japanese and U.S. cross-border common stock investments," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 476-493, December.
  26. Maurice Obstfeld, 1985. "Capital Mobility in the World Economy: Theory and Measurement," NBER Working Papers 1692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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