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How do taxes affect the trading behavior of private investors? Evidence from individual portfolio data

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  • Buhlmann, Florian
  • Doerrenberg, Philipp
  • Voget, Johannes
  • Loos, Benjamin

Abstract

We exploit a large reform of capital-gains taxation in Germany combined with portfolio-level daily panel data to study the causal effect of taxes on individual stock-trading behavior and the disposition effect. We find substantial spikes in selling probabilities around an intertemporal tax discontinuity, and no such spikes after the abolishment of the discontinuity. Using difference-in-bunching methods, non-parametric regressions and effective tax rates, we quantify the tax effect and identify interesting patterns of heterogeneity. We further find evidence that the well-established disposition effect is strongly affected by the tax discontinuity through tax motivated selling of both gains and losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Buhlmann, Florian & Doerrenberg, Philipp & Voget, Johannes & Loos, Benjamin, 2020. "How do taxes affect the trading behavior of private investors? Evidence from individual portfolio data," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-047, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:20047
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    Cited by:

    1. Ole Agersnap & Owen Zidar, 2020. "The Tax Elasticity of Capital Gains and Revenue-Maximizing Rates," Working Papers 272, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Taxation; Capital-gains; Private investors; Trading Behavior; Disposition Effect;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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