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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. Ben Dachis & Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2012. "The effects of land transfer taxes on real estate markets: evidence from a natural experiment in Toronto," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 327-354, March.
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  3. 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.
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  8. Wouter Vermeulen & Christian A. L. Hilber & Teemu Lyytikäinen, 2011. "Capitalization of Central Government Grants into Local House Prices," CPB Discussion Paper 167, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
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  13. 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.
  14. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
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  26. repec:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:2:p:669-723 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. (IFS), Institute for Fiscal Studies & Mirrlees, James (ed.), 2011. "Tax By Design: The Mirrlees Review," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199553747, July.
  28. Christian A. L. Hilber & Teemu Lyytikainen & Wouter Vermeulen, 2010. "Capitalization of central government grants into local house prices: panel data evidence from England," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 31778, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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