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The Impact of Capital Gains Taxes on Stock Price Reactions to S&P 500 Inclusion


  • Jennifer L. Blouin
  • Jana Smith Raedy
  • Douglas A. Shackelford


This paper contributes to our understanding of the determinants of price responses to inclusion in the S&P 500 by providing evidence consistent with capital gains tax planning impacting stock reactions. Tests are conducted on 426 additions from 1978-1999. We regress the returns on the first trading day following announcement on a capital gains tax measure and controls. The evidence is consistent with the share prices of appreciated firms being temporarily bid up to compensate individual shareholders for any unanticipated capital gains taxes triggered when they sell to index funds and the share prices of depreciated firms being temporarily diminished when individual shareholders sell because buyers and sellers share the tax savings associated with deductible capital losses. We infer from these findings that in rebalancing their portfolios after S&P 500 additions, index funds share individual shareholders' capital gains taxes (or tax savings) through sales price adjustments. Consistent with temporary price pressure, further analysis shows that much of the price reaction unwinds over the following week's trading. Finding that personal capital gains taxes affect stock returns in a setting that does not bias toward taxes mattering suggests that capital gains tax capitalization may be a pervasive feature in equity valuation.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer L. Blouin & Jana Smith Raedy & Douglas A. Shackelford, 2000. "The Impact of Capital Gains Taxes on Stock Price Reactions to S&P 500 Inclusion," NBER Working Papers 8011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8011
    Note: AP PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hassett, Kevin A., 2003. "On the marginal source of investment funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 205-232, January.
    2. Alan J. Auerbach, 1979. "Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 433-446.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bildik, Recep & Gulay, Guzhan, 2008. "The effects of changes in index composition on stock prices and volume: Evidence from the Istanbul stock exchange," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 178-197.
    2. Sascha Wilkens & Jens Wimschulte, 2005. "Price and Volume Effects Associated with 2003’s Major Reorganization of German Stock Indices," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 19(1), pages 61-98, June.
    3. Ding, Rong & Cheng, Peng, 2011. "Speculative trading, price pressure and overvaluation," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 419-442, July.
    4. Shackelford, Douglas A. & Shevlin, Terry, 2001. "Empirical tax research in accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 321-387, September.
    5. repec:bap:journl:180105 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Dhaliwal, Dan & Zhen Li, Oliver & Trezevant, Robert, 2003. "Is a dividend tax penalty incorporated into the return on a firm's common stock?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 155-178, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates


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