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Capital Gains Taxes and Asset Prices: Capitalization or Lock-In?

  • Zhonglan Dai
  • Edward Maydew
  • Douglas A. Shackelford
  • Harold H. Zhang

This paper examines the impact on asset prices from a reduction in the long-term capital gains tax rate using an equilibrium approach that considers both demand and supply responses. We demonstrate that the equilibrium impact of capital gains taxes reflects both the capitalization effect (i.e., capital gains taxes decrease demand) and the lock-in effect (i.e., capital gains taxes decrease supply). Depending on time periods and stock characteristics, either effect may dominate. Using the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 as our event, we find evidence supporting a dominant capitalization effect in the week following news that sharply increased the probability of a reduction in the capital gains tax rate and a dominant lock-in effect in the week after the rate reduction became effective. Nondividend paying stocks (whose shareholders only face capital gains taxes) experience higher average returns during the week the capitalization effect dominates and stocks with large embedded capital gains and high tax sensitive investor ownership exhibit lower average returns during the week the lock-in effect dominates. We also find that the tax cut increases the trading volume during the week immediately before and after the tax cut becomes effective and in stocks with large embedded capital gains and high tax sensitive ownership during the dominant lock-in week.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12342.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12342.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Publication status: published as Zhonglan Dai & Edward Maydew & Douglas A. Shackelford & Harold H. Zhang, 2008. "Capital Gains Taxes and Asset Prices: Capitalization or Lock-in?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(2), pages 709-742, 04.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12342
Note: PE
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  1. Douglas A. Shackelford & Robert E. Verrecchia, 1999. "Intertemporal Tax Discontinuities," NBER Working Papers 7451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James M. Poterba & Scott J. Weisbenner, 1998. "Capital Gains Tax Rules, Tax Loss Trading and Turn-of-the-Year Returns," NBER Working Papers 6616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dan Dhaliwal & Linda Krull & Oliver Zhen Li & William Moser, 2005. "Dividend Taxes and Implied Cost of Equity Capital," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(5), pages 675-708, December.
  4. George M. Constantinides, 1983. "Optimal Stock Trading with Personal Taxes: Implications for Prices and the Abnormal January Returns," NBER Working Papers 1176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michaely, Roni & Vila, Jean-Luc, 1996. "Trading Volume with Private Valuation: Evidence from the Ex-dividend Day," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(2), pages 471-509.
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  7. Benjamin C. Ayers & Craig E. Lefanowicz & John R. Robinson, 2003. "Shareholder Taxes in Acquisition Premiums: The Effect of Capital Gains Taxation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2783-2801, December.
  8. Guenther, David A. & Willenborg, Michael, 1999. "Capital gains tax rates and the cost of capital for small business: evidence from the IPO market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 385-408, September.
  9. William A. Reese, Jr., 1998. "Capital Gains Taxation and Stock Market Activity: Evidence from IPOs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1799-1819, October.
  10. Martin Feldstein & Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1981. "The Effects of Taxation on the Selling of Corporate Stock and the Realization of Capital Gains," NBER Working Papers 0250, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jennifer L. Blouin & Jana Smith Raedy & Douglas A. Shackelford, 2003. "Capital Gains Taxes and Equity Trading: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 611-651, 09.
  12. Constantinides, George M, 1983. "Capital Market Equilibrium with Personal Tax," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 611-36, May.
  13. Li Jin, 2006. "Capital Gains Tax Overhang and Price Pressure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(3), pages 1399-1431, 06.
  14. John R. Graham, 2003. "Taxes and Corporate Finance: A Review," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(4), pages 1075-1129.
  15. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2005. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," NBER Working Papers 11280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Klein, Peter, 1999. "The capital gain lock-in effect and equilibrium returns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 355-378, March.
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