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Security returns and tax aversion bias: Behavioral responses to tax labels

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  • Blaufus, Kay
  • Möhlmann, Axel

Abstract

This paper studies behavioral responses to taxes in financial markets. It is motivated by recent puzzling empirical evidence of taxable municipal bond yields significantly exceeding the level expected relative to tax exempt bonds. A behavioral explanation is a tax aversion bias, the phenomenon that people perceive an additional burden associated with tax payments. We conduct market experiments on the trading of differently taxed and labeled securities. The data show an initial overvaluation of tax payments that diminishes when subjects gain experience. The tax deduction of expenses is valued more than an equivalent tax exemption of earnings. We find that the persistence of the tax aversion bias critically depends on the quality of feedback. This suggests that tax aversion predominantly occurs in one-time, unfamiliar financial decisions and to a lesser extent in repetitive choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Blaufus, Kay & Möhlmann, Axel, 2012. "Security returns and tax aversion bias: Behavioral responses to tax labels," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 133, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:arqudp:133
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    Cited by:

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    2. Blaufus, Kay & Chirvi, Malte & Huber, Hans-Peter & Maiterth, Ralf & Sureth-Slaone, Caren, 2020. "Tax misperception and its effects on decision making: A literature review," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 261, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    3. Blaufus, Kay & Milde, Michael, 2018. "Learning to save tax-efficiently: Tax misperceptions and the effect of informational tax nudges on retirement savings," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 225, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    4. Suarez-Fernandez, Sara & Perez-Villadoniga, Maria J. & Prieto-Rodriguez, Juan, 2022. "Price salience in opinion polls and observed behavior: The case of Spanish cinema," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    5. Tiezzi, Silvia & Verde, Stefano F., 2016. "Differential demand response to gasoline taxes and gasoline prices in the U.S," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 71-91.
    6. Tiezzi, Silvia & Xiao, Erte, 2016. "Time delay, complexity and support for taxation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 117-141.
    7. Eric J. Brunner & Mark D. Robbins & Bill Simonsen, 2021. "Experimental evidence about property tax word aversion," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 50-70, December.
    8. James Alm & Kay Blaufus & Martin Fochmann & Erich Kirchler & Peter N. C. Mohr & Nina E. Olson & Benno Torgler, 2020. "Tax Policy Measures to Combat the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic and Considerations to Improve Tax Compliance: A Behavioral Perspective," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 76(4), pages 396-428.
    9. Huang, Lingbo & Tiezzi, Silvia & Xiao, Erte, 2022. "Tax liability side equivalence and time delayed externalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    10. Silvia Tiezzi & Stefano F. Verde, 2019. "The signaling effect of gasoline taxes and its distributional implications," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 17(2), pages 145-169, June.
    11. Fochmann, Martin & Kroll, Eike B., 2016. "The effects of rewards on tax compliance decisions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 38-55.
    12. Sara Suarez-Fernandez & Maria Jose Perez-Villadoniga & Juan Prieto-Rodriguez, 2018. "Are We (Un)Consciously Driven by First Impressions? Price Declarations vs. Observed Cinema Demand when VAT Increases," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-02-2018, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Jul 2018.
    13. Tiezzi, Silvia & Xiao, Erte, 2013. "Time Delay and Support for Taxation," MPRA Paper 51233, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Martin Fochmann & Johannes Hewig & Dirk Kiesewetter & Katharina Schüßler, 2017. "Affective reactions influence investment decisions: evidence from a laboratory experiment with taxation," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 87(6), pages 779-808, August.
    15. Cherry, Todd L. & Kallbekken, Steffen & Kroll, Stephan, 2017. "Accepting market failure: Cultural worldviews and the opposition to corrective environmental policies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 193-204.
    16. Fochmann, Martin & Kroll, Eike B., 2014. "The effects of rewards on tax compliance decisions," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 163, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    17. Martin Fochmann & Arne Kleinstück, 2012. "Steueraversion - Sind wir wirklich bereit auf Einkommen zu verzichten, nur um Steuern zu sparen?," FEMM Working Papers 120024, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    18. Silvia Tiezzi & Stefano F. Verde, 2019. "The signaling effect of gasoline taxes and its distributional implications," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 17(2), pages 145-169, June.
    19. Renz, André, 2016. "Die Relevanz von Replikationen in der experimentellen Steuerforschung: Eine Replikationsstudie zu Wahrnehmungsverzerrungen bei Subventionen," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 202, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Behavioral finance; Behavioral taxation; Investor psychology; Tax aversion; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

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