Home Bias in Portfolios and Taxation of Asset Income
25 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2001 Last revised: 7 Dec 2001
Date Written: March 2001
Intuitively, the observed 'home bias' in individual portfolios plausibly explains the international capital immobility in aggregate data reported by Feldstein and Horioka (1980) as well as the survival of taxes on capital income. These intuitions are examined explicitly in a model where random consumer prices cause individuals to invest heavily in domestic equity as a hedge against these price fluctuations. Neither intuition is fully supported by the model. While the model forecasts that extra domestic savings generate extra investment primarily in the home country, consistent with the evidence in Feldstein and Horioka, this is true regardless of whether consumer price are random and so whether portfolios have 'home bias.' In addition, while random equity returns facilitate taxes on equity income, as shown in Gordon and Varian (1989) and Huizinga and Nielsen (1997), random consumer prices appear to undermine taxes on capital income.
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