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Housing transfer taxes and household mobility: Distortion on the housing or labour market?

  • Teemu Lyytikäinen
  • Hilber
  • A. L. Christian

We estimate the effect of the UK Stamp Duty Land Tax on household mobility using micro data. Exploiting a discontinuity in the tax schedule as a quasiexperimental setting, we isolate the impact of the stamp duty from other determinants of mobility. We compare homeowners with self-assessed house values on either sides of a cut-off value where the tax rate increases from 1 to 3 percent and find that a higher stamp duty strongly negatively affects their propensity to move. The 2 percentage-point increase in the stamp duty reduces the annual rate of mobility by between 2 and 3 percentage-points or about 30 percent. This adverse effect is confined to short-distance and non-job related moves, suggesting a distortion in the housing rather than the labour market. As a cross-validation check, we also analyse the distribution of actual transaction prices and find that the tax rate increase reduces the volume of sales by roughly 30 percent.

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Paper provided by Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT) in its series Working Papers with number 47.

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Date of creation: 09 Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fer:wpaper:47
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  1. Hilber, Christian A.L. & Lyytikäinen, Teemu & Vermeulen, Wouter, 2011. "Capitalization of central government grants into local house prices: Panel data evidence from England," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 394-406, July.
  2. Ben Dachis & Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2011. "The effects of land transfer taxes on real estate markets: Evidence from a natural experiment in Toronto," Working Papers tecipa-423, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Jakob Roland Munch & Michael Rosholm & Michael Svarer, 2006. "Are Homeowners Really More Unemployed?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 991-1013, October.
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  5. Michiel van Leuvensteijn & Pierre Koning, 2006. "The Effect of Home-Ownership on Labour Mobility in the Netherlands," Chapters, in: Labour Market Adjustments in Europe, chapter 6 Edward Elgar.
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  7. Oswald Andrew J., 1996. "A Conjecture on the Explanation for High Unemployment in the Industrialized Nations : Part I," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 475, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 2010. "Housing busts and household mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 34-45, July.
  9. Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 180-212, August.
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  16. (IFS), Institute for Fiscal Studies & Mirrlees, James (ed.), 2011. "Tax By Design: The Mirrlees Review," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199553747, March.
  17. Coulson, N. Edward & Fisher, Lynn M., 2009. "Housing tenure and labor market impacts: The search goes on," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 252-264, May.
  18. Ian Davidoff & Andrew Leigh, 2013. "How Do Stamp Duties Affect the Housing Market?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(286), pages 396-410, 09.
  19. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Munroe, David, 2015. "Mansion tax: The Effect of Transfer Taxes on the Residential Real Estate Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 10375, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Benjamin Dachis, 2012. "Stuck in Place: The Effect of Land Transfer Taxes on Housing Transactions," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 364, October.
  21. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2011. "Negative Equity Does Not Reduce Homeowners' Mobility," NBER Working Papers 16701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Munch, Jakob Roland & Rosholm, Michael & Svarer, Michael, 2008. "Home ownership, job duration, and wages," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 130-145, January.
  23. Henrik J. Kleven & Mazhar Waseem, 2013. "Using Notches to Uncover Optimization Frictions and Structural Elasticities: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 669-723.
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