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Tax Induced Trading: The Effect of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on Stock Market Activity

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  • Paul J. Bolster
  • Lawrence B. Lindsey
  • Andrew W. Mitrusi

Abstract

The abolition of the favorable tax treatment of long term capital gains forced investors to reassess traditional year-end trading strategies used to manage tax liabilities. This study compares with year-end trading behavior in previous years with that observed at the end of 1986. Traditional strategies involve selling both short and long term losers and holding short and long term winners. Our results affirm previous findings concerning tax induced trading at year end. However, for 1986, we find that the anticipated tax code changes had a powerful effect on trading behavior. Compared to previous years, relative trading volume was considerably higher in December of 1986 for long term winners and lower for long term losers. Additional results indicate that traditional patterns of trading induced by short term capital gains and losses were also altered substantially in 1986.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul J. Bolster & Lawrence B. Lindsey & Andrew W. Mitrusi, 1988. "Tax Induced Trading: The Effect of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on Stock Market Activity," NBER Working Papers 2659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2659
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lakonishok, Josef & Smidt, Seymour, 1986. " Volume for Winners and Losers: Taxation and Other Motives for Stock Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(4), pages 951-974, September.
    2. Martin Feldstein & Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1980. "The Effects of Taxation on the Selling of Corporate Stock and the Realization of Capital Gains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 777-791.
    3. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1983. "Some aspects of the taxation of capital gains," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 257-294, July.
    4. James M. Poterba, 1986. "How Burdensome are Capital Gains Taxes?," NBER Working Papers 1871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Feldstein, Martin & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1978. "The effects of the capital gains tax on the selling and switching of common stock," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 17-36, February.
    6. Constantinides, George M., 1984. "Optimal stock trading with personal taxes : Implications for prices and the abnormal January returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 65-89, March.
    7. Givoly, Dan & Ovadia, Arie, 1983. " Year-End Tax-Induced Sales and Stock Market Seasonality," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(1), pages 171-185, March.
    8. Dyl, Edward A, 1977. "Capital Gains Taxation and Year-End Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(1), pages 165-175, March.
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