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Dividend Taxes and International Portfolio Choice


  • Mihir A Desai

    (Harvard University and NBER)

  • Dhammika Dharmapala

    (University of Illinois at Urbana-‐Champaign)


This paper investigates how dividend taxes influence portfolio choices, using the response to the distinctive treatment of a subset of foreign dividends in the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (JGTRRA) of 2003. An open-economy after-tax capital asset pricing model is used to derive the hypothesis that JGTRRA should lead to a portfolio reallocation by U.S. investors toward equities in tax-favored countries. A difference-in-difference analysis that compares U.S. equity holdings in affected and unaffected countries finds a substantial portfolio reallocation toward the former. This effect cannot be explained by several potential alternative hypotheses, including differential changes to the preferences of American investors, differential changes in investment opportunities, differential time trends in investment, changed tax evasion behavior, or changes in stock prices associated (or contemporaneous) with JGTRRA. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Mihir A Desai & Dhammika Dharmapala, 2011. "Dividend Taxes and International Portfolio Choice," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 266-284, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:1:p:266-284

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    Cited by:

    1. John Ammer & Sara B. Holland & David C. Smith & Francis E. Warnock, 2012. "U.S. International Equity Investment," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(5), pages 1109-1139, December.
    2. Möhlmann, Axel, 2013. "Investor home bias and sentiment about the country benefiting from the tax revenue," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 31-46.
    3. Dharmapala, Dhammika, 2016. "Cross-border tax evasion under a unilateral FATCA regime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 29-37.
    4. Vermeulen, Robert, 2013. "International diversification during the financial crisis: A blessing for equity investors?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 104-123.
    5. Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "The End of Bank Secrecy? An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 65-91, February.
    6. Babina, Tania & Jotikasthira, Chotibhak & Lundblad, Christian T & Ramadorai, Tarun, 2015. "Heterogenous Taxes and Limited Risk Sharing: Evidence from Municipal Bonds," CEPR Discussion Papers 10971, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Martijn Boermans & Robert Vermeulen, 2016. "International investment positions revisited: Investor heterogeneity and individual security characteristics," DNB Working Papers 531, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    8. Richard Ochmann, 2014. "Differential income taxation and household asset allocation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(8), pages 880-894, March.
    9. Jennifer Blouin & Jana Raedy & Douglas Shackelford, 2010. "Dividends, Share Repurchases, and Tax Clienteles: Evidence from the 2003 Reductions in Shareholder Taxes," NBER Working Papers 16129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00665054 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Massa, Massimo & Žaldokas, Alminas, 2014. "Investor base and corporate borrowing: Evidence from international bonds," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 95-110.
    12. He, Wen & Shen, Jianfeng, 2014. "Do foreign investors improve informational efficiency of stock prices? Evidence from Japan," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 32-48.
    13. Kazuki Onji & Masanori Orihara, "undated". "Taxes, stock ownership, and payout policy: Evidence from a 2011 tax reform in Japan," Discussion papers ron278, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan.
    14. repec:eee:finana:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:54-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Estelle P. Dauchy & Christopher Balding, 2013. "Asymmetric Trade Estimator in Modified Gravity: Corporate Tax Rates and Trade in OECD Countries," Working Papers w0200, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies


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