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The Non-Neutrality of Inflation for International Capital Movements

  • Hans-Werner Sinn

This paper studies the question of how unilateral changes in the rate of inflation affect the international allocation of capital. Presenting a model that incorporates a transaction motive for money holding and capital income taxation with historical cost accounting, it counters the view that inflation will be neutral in a world of perfect foresight and costless arbitrage: under mild conditions, domestic inflation will unambiguously induce a capital export. The paper includes a discussion of the Fisher effect. The empirical observation of a less than one-to--one translation of inflation into nominal interest rates is shown to be compatible with the model, and in fact the capital export turns out to be stronger the lower the degree of translation.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3219.

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Date of creation: Jan 1990
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as European Economic Review, Vol. 34, pp. 1-22, (1991).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3219
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  1. Alan J. Auerbach & Martin Feldstein, 1978. "Inflation and the Choice of Asset Life," NBER Working Papers 0253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Robert Mundell, 1963. "Inflation and Real Interest," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 280.
  3. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Inflation, Income Taxes, and the Rate of Interest: A Theoretical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 809-20, December.
  4. Robin Boadway & Neil Bruce & Jack Mintz, 1984. "Taxation, Inflation, and the Effective Marginal Tax Rate on Capital in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(1), pages 62-79, February.
  5. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1986. "The Fisher Hypothesis and International Capital Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1330-37, December.
  6. Sheshinski, Eytan & Feldstein, Martin & Green, Jerry & Auerbach, Alan, 1978. "Inflation and Taxes in a Growing Economy with Debt and Equity Finance," Scholarly Articles 3203645, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-75, May.
  8. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  9. Fried, Joel & Howitt, Peter, 1983. "The Effects of Inflation on Real Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 968-80, December.
  10. Hartman, David G, 1979. "Taxation and the Effects of Inflation on the Real Capital Stock in an Open Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(2), pages 417-25, June.
  11. Darby, Michael R, 1975. "The Financial and Tax Effects of Monetary Policy on Interest Rates," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(2), pages 266-76, June.
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