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Tax Externalities of Equity Mutual Funds

  • John B. Shoven
  • Joel Dickson
  • Clemens Sialm

Investors holding mutual funds in taxable accounts face a classic externality. The after-tax return of their investment depends on the behavior of others. In particular, redemptions may force the mutual fund to sell some of its equity positions in order to pay off the liquidating investors. As a result, it may be forced to distribute taxable capital gains to its shareholders. On the other hand, new investors convey a positive externality upon existing investors by diluting the unrealized capital gain position of the fund. This paper's simulations show that these externalities are important determinants of the after-tax performance of equity mutual funds.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7669.

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Date of creation: Apr 2000
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Publication status: published as Dickson, Joel, John Shoven, and Clemens Sialm. “Tax Externalities of Equity Mutual Funds.” National Tax Journal 53 (3/2) (2000): 607-628.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7669
Note: AG PE
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  1. Poterba, J.M. & Samwick, A.A., 1996. "Stock Ownership Patterns, Stock Market Fluctuations, and Consumption," Working papers 96-2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Joel M. Dickson & John B. Shoven, 1994. "A Stock Index Mutual Fund Without Net Capital Gains Realizations," NBER Working Papers 4717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joel M. Dickson & John B. Shoven, 1995. "Taxation and Mutual Funds: An Investor Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 9, pages 151-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Barclay, Michael J. & Pearson, Neil D. & Weisbach, Michael S., 1998. "Open-end mutual funds and capital-gains taxes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 3-43, July.
  5. Bergstresser, Daniel & Poterba, James, 2002. "Do after-tax returns affect mutual fund inflows?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 381-414, March.
  6. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  7. Erik R. Sirri & Peter Tufano, 1998. "Costly Search and Mutual Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1589-1622, October.
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