Capital Gains Taxes and Asset Prices: Capitalization or Lock-In?

43 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2006 Last revised: 23 Sep 2022

See all articles by Zhonglan Dai

Zhonglan Dai

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Management

Harold H. Zhang

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management; China Academy of Financial Research (CAFR)

Edward L. Maydew

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Douglas A. Shackelford

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2006

Abstract

This paper examines the impact on asset prices from a reduction in the long-term capital gains tax rate using an equilibrium approach that considers both demand and supply responses. We demonstrate that the equilibrium impact of capital gains taxes reflects both the capitalization effect (i.e., capital gains taxes decrease demand) and the lock-in effect (i.e., capital gains taxes decrease supply). Depending on time periods and stock characteristics, either effect may dominate. Using the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 as our event, we find evidence supporting a dominant capitalization effect in the week following news that sharply increased the probability of a reduction in the capital gains tax rate and a dominant lock-in effect in the week after the rate reduction became effective. Nondividend paying stocks (whose shareholders only face capital gains taxes) experience higher average returns during the week the capitalization effect dominates and stocks with large embedded capital gains and high tax sensitive investor ownership exhibit lower average returns during the week the lock-in effect dominates. We also find that the tax cut increases the trading volume during the week immediately before and after the tax cut becomes effective and in stocks with large embedded capital gains and high tax sensitive ownership during the dominant lock-in week.

Suggested Citation

Dai, Zhonglan and Zhang, Harold Huibing and Maydew, Edward L. and Shackelford, Douglas A., Capital Gains Taxes and Asset Prices: Capitalization or Lock-In? (June 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12342, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=912452

Zhonglan Dai

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Management ( email )

2601 North Floyd Road
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Harold Huibing Zhang

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

China Academy of Financial Research (CAFR)

1954 Huashan Road
Shanghai P.R.China, 200030
China

Edward L. Maydew

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States
919-843-9356 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/faculty/directory/accounting/edward-maydew

Douglas A. Shackelford (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States
919-962-3197 (Phone)
919-962-4727 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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