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New Evidence on Taxes and Portfolio Choice


  • Sule Alan
  • Kadir Atalay
  • Thomas F. Crossley
  • Sung-Hee Jeon


Identifying the effect of differential taxation on portfolio allocation requires exogenous variation in marginal tax rates. Marginal tax rates vary with income, but income surely affects portfolio choice directly. In systems of individual taxation – like Canada’s – couples with the same household income can face different effective tax rates on capital income when labor income is distributed differently within households. Using this source of variation we find statistically significant but economically modest responses to taxation. In a “placebo” test, using data from the U.S. (which has joint taxation), we find no effect of the intra-household distribution of labor income on portfolios.

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  • Sule Alan & Kadir Atalay & Thomas F. Crossley & Sung-Hee Jeon, 2009. "New Evidence on Taxes and Portfolio Choice," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 245, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:245

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Poterba, James M., 2002. "Taxation, risk-taking, and household portfolio behavior," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 17, pages 1109-1171 Elsevier.
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    8. Stephens, Melvin Jr & Ward-Batts, Jennifer, 2004. "The impact of separate taxation on the intra-household allocation of assets: evidence from the UK," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1989-2007, August.
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    10. Rosen, H.S.Harvey S. & Wu, Stephen, 2004. "Portfolio choice and health status," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 457-484, June.
    11. Thomas F. Crossley & Sung-Hee Jeon, 2007. "Joint Taxation and the Labour Supply of Married Women: Evidence from the Canadian Tax Reform of 1988," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(3), pages 343-365, September.
    12. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Ochmann, 2016. "Distributional and welfare effects of Germany’s year 2000 tax reform: the context of savings and portfolio choice," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 93-123, August.
    2. repec:eee:quaeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:127-135 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Richard Ochmann, 2014. "Differential income taxation and household asset allocation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(8), pages 880-894, March.
    4. Erik Floor & Arjan Lejour, 2014. "Saving behavior and risk taking: Evidence from the Dutch Tax Reform in 2001," CPB Discussion Paper 273, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    5. Levaggi, Rosella & Menoncin, Francesco, 2016. "Optimal dynamic tax evasion: A portfolio approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 115-129.
    6. Richard Ochmann, 2010. "Distributional and Welfare Effects of Germany's Year 2000 Tax Reform," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1083, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    7. Alan Sule & Honoré Bo E. & Hu Luojia & Leth-Petersen Søren, 2014. "Estimation of Panel Data Regression Models with Two-Sided Censoring or Truncation," Journal of Econometric Methods, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-20, January.
    8. Steiner, Viktor & Fossen, Frank & Rees, Ray & Rostam-Afschar, Davud, 2017. "How Do Entrepreneurial Portfolios Respond to Income Taxation?," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168302, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Jaroslava Hlouskova & Panagiotis Tsigaris, 2012. "Capital income taxation and risk taking under prospect theory," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(4), pages 554-573, August.
    10. Nicolas Sauter & Jan Walliser & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Tax Incentives, Bequest Motives, and the Demand for Life Insurance: Evidence from two Natural Experiments in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 3040, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Zoutman, Floris T., 2014. "The Effect of Capital Taxes on Household's Portfolio Composition and Intertemporal Choice: Evidence from the Dutch 2001 Capital Income Tax Reform," Discussion Papers 2014/23, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    12. Jeffrey Thompson, 2012. "Raising Revenue from High-Income Households: Should States Continue to Place the Lowest Tax Rates on Those with the Highest Incomes?," Published Studies revenue_peri_march5, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    13. Katherine Grace Carman & Angela Hung, 2017. "Household Retirement Saving The Location of Savings Between Spouses," Working Papers WR-1166, RAND Corporation.

    More about this item


    Household Portfolio Choice; Tax;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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