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Dividend and Capital Gains Taxation under Incomplete Markets

  • Alexis Anagnostopoulos

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Stony Brook University)

  • Eva Carceles-Poveda

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Stony Brook University)

The capital income tax cuts that were part of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 are expiring this year and the administration has to decide whether to extend them or not. This paper assesses the effects of these tax cuts in a calibrated dynamic general equilibrium framework with uninsurable labor income risk. In particular, it looks at the effects of dividend and capital gains taxes on investment and welfare in a framework where firms are the owners of capital and make investment decisions to maximize their market value. While the effects of capital gains taxes are qualitatively similar to those found when households own the capital, we find that the effects of dividend taxes are different. Surprisingly, a dividend tax cut leads to a reduction in investment. The reason is that it raises the market valuation of the existing capital stock and households require a lower capital stock to maintain the same level of wealth. As a consequence, dividend tax cuts are welfare reducing in the long run, not only because of the traditional reasons of redistribution from the poor to rich, but also because of a fall in aggregate production and consumption. Taking into account the transition mitigates the losses. Still, with our benchmark calibration, a reduction of dividend and capital gains taxes from 31% and 24% to 19% leads to a reduction of more than 0.5% in aggregate welfare in consumption equivalent terms.

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File URL: http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/economics/research/papers/2010/dividendtax.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
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Paper provided by Stony Brook University, Department of Economics in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 10-06.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:10-06
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