Heterogenous Taxes and Limited Risk Sharing: Evidence from Municipal Bonds
52 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 2015
Heterogeneity in the taxation of asset returns can create ownership clienteles. Using a simple model, we demonstrate that an important consequence of tax-policy-induced ownership segmentation is to limit risk-sharing, creating regions of the aggregate demand curve for the asset that are "downward-sloping.'' As a result, the constraints of the ownership clientele impact the asset price response to variations in asset supply and demand, and make the asset's price more sensitive to movements in idiosyncratic risk. We test these predictions on U.S. municipal bonds, where cross-state variation in state tax privilege policies results in different levels of home-state-biased ownership of local municipal bonds. In states with high tax-induced ownership segmentation, we find greater susceptibility of municipal bond yields to demand and supply variation, heightened sensitivity of muni yields to local political uncertainty, and greater difficulties in raising capital for public projects.
Keywords: clientele effects, fire sales, government debt, municipal bonds, ownership segmentation, public finance, Taxes
JEL Classification: F30, G12, G15, H63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation