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The neglected effect of fiscal policy on stock and bond returns

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  • Tavares, Jose
  • Valkanov, Rossen

Abstract

We analyze the effect of taxes and government spending on quarterly market returns of stocks, government bonds, and corporate bonds. In US data from 1960 to 2000, a one standard deviation increase in the share of tax receipts in GDP has a statistically and economically significant effect on returns, lowering annualized expected returns by 4% and 9% at quarterly and yearly horizons, respectively. Istrestingly, the impact of taxes is quantitatively similar for stock and bond returns. These results can partly be explained by the high persistence of the tax series so that increases today imply permanently higher tax levels in the future. An increase in government spending has a positive impact on expected returns, but the effect is statistically significant only for bonds, at short horizons. Our findings represent a novel test of Ricardian Equivalence, using market returns. Fiscal Policy shocks account for 3-4% of the variation in unexpected excess stock returns and 8-10% of the variation in unexpected excess bond returns. When fiscal and monetary policy changes are jointly identified, our results remain qualitatively unchanged and the quantitative results are only reinforced. More importantly, we find that fiscal policy is at least as important a source of return variability as is the policy of the Federal Reserve. The findings are surprisingly robust to various system specifications, such as cointegration assumptions and variable choice. Our results strongly suggest that fiscal policy shocks should be given more serious consideration in asset pricing.

Suggested Citation

  • Tavares, Jose & Valkanov, Rossen, 2001. "The neglected effect of fiscal policy on stock and bond returns," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp413, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
  • Handle: RePEc:unl:unlfep:wp413
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    Cited by:

    1. Agnello, Luca & Castro, Vítor & Sousa, Ricardo M., 2012. "How does fiscal policy react to wealth composition and asset prices?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 874-890.
    2. Agnello, L. & Furceri, D. & R.M, Sousa., 2011. "Fiscal Policy Discretion, Private Spending, and Crisis Episodes," Working papers 354, Banque de France.
    3. Arin, K. Peren & Mamun, Abdullah & Purushothman, Nanda, 2009. "The effects of tax policy on financial markets: G3 evidence," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 33-46, January.
    4. Vyprachticka, Terezie, 2011. "Could the Stability and Growth Pact be Substituted by the Financial Markets?," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 15, September.
    5. Ardagna Silvia & Caselli Francesco & Lane Timothy, 2007. "Fiscal Discipline and the Cost of Public Debt Service: Some Estimates for OECD Countries," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-35, August.
    6. Ardagna, Silvia & Caselli, Francesco & Lane, Timothy, 2005. "Fiscal discipline and the cost of public debt service: some estimates for OECD countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3562, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Sanjeev Gupta & Carlos Mulas-Granados & Emanuele Baldacci, 2009. "How Effective is Fiscal Policy Response in Systemic Banking Crises?," IMF Working Papers 09/160, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Ardagna, Silvia, 2009. "Financial markets' behavior around episodes of large changes in the fiscal stance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 37-55, January.
    9. Anthony M. Diercks & William Waller, 2017. "Taxes and the Fed : Theory and Evidence from Equities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-104, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Taha, Roshaiza & Colombage, Sisira R.N. & Maslyuk, Svetlana & Nanthakumar, Loganathan, 2013. "Does financial system activity affect tax revenue in Malaysia? Bounds testing and causality approach," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 147-157.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models

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