IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cwl/cwldpp/1413.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Market Bubbles and Wasteful Avoidance: Tax and Regulatory Constraints on Short Sales

Author

Listed:

Abstract

Although short sales make an important contribution to financial markets, this transaction faces legal constraints that do not govern long positions. In evaluating these constraints, other commentators, who are virtually all economists, have not focused rigorously enough on the precise contours of current law. Some short sale constraints are mischaracterized, while others are omitted entirely. Likewise, the existing literature neglects many strategies in which well advised investors circumvent these constraints; this avoidance may reduce the impact of short sale constraints on market prices, but may contribute to social waste in other ways. To fill these gaps in the literature, this paper offers a careful look at current law and draws three conclusions. First, short sales play a valuable role in the financial markets; while there may be plausible reasons to regulate short sales-- most notably, concerns about market manipulation and panics -- current law is very poorly tailored to these goals. Second, investor self-help can ease some of the harm from this poor tailoring, but at a cost. Third, relatively straightforward reforms can eliminate the need for self-help while accommodating legitimate regulatory goals. In making these points, we focus primarily on a burden that other commentators have neglected: profits from short sales generally are ineligible for the reduced tax rate on long-term capital gains, even if the short sale is in place for more than one year.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael R. Powers & David M. Schizer & Martin Shubik, 2003. "Market Bubbles and Wasteful Avoidance: Tax and Regulatory Constraints on Short Sales," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1413, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1413
    Note: CFP 1142.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d14/d1413.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lintner, John, 1969. "The Aggregation of Investor's Diverse Judgments and Preferences in Purely Competitive Security Markets," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(04), pages 347-400, December.
    2. Bhattacharya, Anand K & Gallinger, George W, 1991. "Causality Tests of Short Sales on the New York Stock Exchange," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 14(3), pages 277-286, Fall.
    3. Jiang, Li & Fung, Joseph K W & Cheng, Louis T W, 2001. "The Lead-Lag Relation between Spot and Futures Markets under Different Short-Selling Regimes," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 36(3), pages 63-88, August.
    4. Martin Shubik, 2000. "The Theory of Money," Working Papers 00-03-021, Santa Fe Institute.
    5. Eli Ofek & Matthew Richardson, 2001. "DotCom Mania: The Rise and Fall of Internet Stock Prices," NBER Working Papers 8630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Joseph K. W. Fung & Li Jiang, 1999. "Restrictions on Short-Selling and Spot-Futures Dynamics," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1-2), pages 227-248.
    7. David F. Bradford, 1996. "Fixing Capital Gains: Symmetry, Consistency and Correctness in the Taxation of Financial Instruments," NBER Working Papers 5754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Mark Mitchell & Todd Pulvino & Erik Stafford, 2002. "Limited Arbitrage in Equity Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 551-584, April.
    9. Chen, Joseph & Hong, Harrison & Stein, Jeremy C., 2002. "Breadth of ownership and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 171-205.
    10. D'Avolio, Gene, 2002. "The market for borrowing stock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 271-306.
    11. Brent, Averil & Morse, Dale & Stice, E. Kay, 1990. "Short Interest: Explanations and Tests," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(02), pages 273-289, June.
    12. Jarrow, Robert A & O'Hara, Maureen, 1989. " Primes and Scores: An Essay on Market Imperfections," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(5), pages 1263-1287, December.
    13. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-738, August.
    14. Dammon, Robert M & Spatt, Chester S & Zhang, Harold H, 2001. "Optimal Consumption and Investment with Capital Gains Taxes," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 583-616.
    15. Kwan, Clarence C. Y., 1995. "Optimal portfolio selection under institutional procedures for short selling," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 871-889, August.
    16. Nijman, T.E. & de Roon, F.A. & Werker, B.J.M., 2001. "Testing for Mean-Variance spanning with short sales constraints and transaction costs : The case of emerging markets," Other publications TiSEM f4a3551a-d7ae-4c22-8813-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    17. J. E. Stiglitz, 1969. "The Effects of Income, Wealth, and Capital Gains Taxation on Risk-Taking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 263-283.
    18. Wang, Zhenyu, 1998. "Efficiency loss and constraints on portfolio holdings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 359-375, June.
    19. Owen A. Lamont & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Can the Market Add and Subtract? Mispricing in Tech Stock Carve-outs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 227-268, April.
    20. Dammon, Robert M & Green, Richard C, 1987. " Tax Arbitrage and the Existence of Equilibrium Prices for Financial Assets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(5), pages 1143-1166, December.
    21. Geczy, Christopher C. & Musto, David K. & Reed, Adam V., 2002. "Stocks are special too: an analysis of the equity lending market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 241-269.
    22. Jones, Charles M. & Lamont, Owen A., 2002. "Short-sale constraints and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 207-239.
    23. Kaplow, Louis, 1994. "Taxation and Risk Taking: A General Equilibrium Perspective," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(4), pages 789-98, December.
    24. Franklin Allen & Stephen Morris & Andrew Postlewaite, "undated". "Finite Bubbles with Short Sale Constraints and Asymmetric Information (Reprint 042)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-92, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    25. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5604 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Frans A. de Roon, 2001. "Testing for Mean-Variance Spanning with Short Sales Constraints and Transaction Costs: The Case of Emerging Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 721-742, April.
    27. Laurence Carassus & Elyès Jouini, 1998. "Investment and Arbitrage Opportunities with Short Sales Constraints," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 169-178.
    28. Jonathan M. Karpoff, 1988. "Costly Short Sales And The Correlation Of Returns With Volume," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 11(3), pages 173-188, September.
    29. Raab, Martin & Schwager, Robert, 1993. " Spanning with Short-Selling Restrictions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 791-793, June.
    30. de Roon, F.A. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 1998. "Testing for mean-variance spanning with short sales constraints and transaction costs : The case of emerging markets," Discussion Paper 1998-07, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    31. Anand K. Bhattacharya & George W. Gallinger, 1991. "Causality Tests Of Short Sales On The New York Stock Exchange," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 14(3), pages 277-286, September.
    32. Kaplow, Louis, 1994. "Taxation and Risk Taking: A General Equilibrium Perspective," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 47(4), pages 789-798, December.
    33. Elyès Jouini & Laurence Carassus, 1998. "Investment and arbitrage opportunities with short sales constraints," Post-Print halshs-00167140, HAL.
    34. Diamond, Douglas W. & Verrecchia, Robert E., 1987. "Constraints on short-selling and asset price adjustment to private information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 277-311, June.
    35. Eli Ofek & Matthew Richardson & Robert F. Whitelaw, 2003. "Limited Arbitrage and Short Sales Restrictions: Evidence from the Options Markets," NBER Working Papers 9423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Louis Kaplow, 1991. "Taxation and Risk Taking: A General Equilibrium Perspective," NBER Working Papers 3709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. Tuckman, Bruce & Vila, Jean-Luc, 1992. " Arbitrage with Holding Costs: A Utility-Based Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1283-1302, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Short sales; Momentum traders; Value investors;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1413. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matthew Regan). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cowleus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.