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Tax Policy and International Capital Flows

  • Martin Feldstein

Although capital is now generally free to move across national borders, there is strong evidence that savings tend to remain and to be invested in the country where the saving takes place. The current paper examines the apparent conflict between the potential mobility of capital and the observed de facto segmentation of the global capital market. The key to reconciling this 'Feldstein-Horioka paradox' is that, although capital is free to move, its owners, and especially the agents who are responsible for institutional investments, prefer to keep funds close to home because of a combination of risk aversion, ignorance and a desire to show prudence in their investing behavior. The paper presents evidence on the capital mobility and on capital market segmentation. The role of hedging and the difference between gross and net capital movements for individual investors and borrowers are discussed. The special place of foreign direct investment is also considered. The segmentation of the global capital market affects the impact of capital income taxes and subsidies. This is discussed in the final section of the paper

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4851.

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Date of creation: Sep 1994
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Publication status: published as The 1994 Bernhard Harms Prize Lecture
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4851
Note: IFM ITI PE
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  1. Harvey, Campbell R, 1995. "Predictable Risk and Returns in Emerging Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(3), pages 773-816.
  2. Baxter, M. & Crucini, M.J., 1990. "Explaining Saving/Investment Correlation," RCER Working Papers 224, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1984. " Are Real Interest Rates Equal across Countries? An Empirical Investigation of International Parity Conditions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(5), pages 1345-57, December.
  4. Brainard, William & Tobin, James, 1991. "On the Internationalization of Portfolios," Discussion Papers 389, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  5. Martin Feldstein, 1978. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation," NBER Chapters, in: Research in Taxation, pages 29-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Morris Goldstein & Michael Mussa, 1993. "The Integration of World Capital Markets," IMF Working Papers 93/95, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Horst, Thomas, 1980. "A Note on the Optimal Taxation of International Investment Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 793-98, June.
  8. Barry Eichengreen., 1990. "Trends and Cycles in Foreign Lending," Economics Working Papers 90-146, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. Martin S. Feldstein, 1995. "The Effects of Outbound Foreign Direct Investment on the Domestic Capital Stock," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Multinational Corporations, pages 43-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Frankel, Jeffrey A., 1989. "Quantifying International Capital Mobility in the 1980s," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4fw7c7bh, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  11. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "Taxes, Leverage and the National Return on Outbound Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 4689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Murphy, Robert G., 1984. "Capital mobility and the relationship between saving and investment rates in OECD countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 327-342, December.
  13. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "International Capital Mobility in the 1990s," CEPR Discussion Papers 902, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Maurice Obstfeld, 1985. "Capital Mobility in the World Economy: Theory and Measurement," NBER Working Papers 1692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Sinn, Stefan, 1992. "Saving-Investment Correlations and Capital Mobility: On the Evidence from Annual Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1162-70, September.
  16. Gordon, R.H. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1994. "Why is capital so immobile internationally? : Possible explanations and implications for capital income taxation," Discussion Paper 1994-63, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  17. Gordon, Roger H, 1986. "Taxation of Investment and Savings in a World Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1086-1102, December.
  18. Tesar, L.L., 1988. "Savings, Investment And International Capital Flows," RCER Working Papers 154, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  19. Martin Feldstein, 1991. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Movements in the Long Run and the Short Run," NBER Chapters, in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 331-353 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Kenneth R. French & James M. Poterba, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 3609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Michael Dooley & Jeffrey Frankel & Donald J. Mathieson, 1987. "International Capital Mobility: What Do Saving-Investment Correlations Tell Us?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(3), pages 503-530, September.
  22. Kenneth A. Froot, 1993. "Currency Hedging over Long Horizons," NBER Working Papers 4355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "Tax Policy and International Competitiveness," NBER Chapters, in: International Aspects of Fiscal Policies, pages 349-386 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Martin Feldstein & Philippe Bacchetta, 1991. "National Saving and International Investment," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 201-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. French, Kenneth R. & Poterba, James M., 1990. "Japanese and U.S. cross-border common stock investments," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 476-493, December.
  26. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
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