Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Papers,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science

No 2014/23: The Effect of Capital Taxes on Household's Portfolio Composition and Intertemporal Choice: Evidence from the Dutch 2001 Capital Income Tax Reform

Floris T. Zoutman ()
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Floris T. Zoutman: Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics, Postal: NHH , Department of Business and Management Science, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of capital taxation on portfolio composition and savings using quasi-experimental variation generated by the Dutch 2001 capital tax reform. The reform drove a wedge between the taxation of housing and financial wealth and in addition affected the after-tax return on all assets. I use unique administrative household panel data with information on capital income, wealth and portfolio shares to exploit this variation. I derive and estimate a semi-structural model which directly relates the share invested in financial wealth to the after-tax return on financial and housing wealth. In addition, I link accumulated wealth in the reform-period to the change in the after-tax return on total wealth. Elasticities have the expected sign but are modest in size. I find some evidence for heterogeneity in the behavioral response. In particular, rich and single households seem to be more responsive in terms of both portfolio composition and wealth accumulation, than other households. The estimated elasticities can be used in capital tax models to calibrate the optimal tax rate.

Keywords: Tax Reform; Capital Taxation of Households; Portfolio Composition; Intertemporal Behavior

JEL-codes: G11; G18; H24; H31

33 pages, June 11, 2014

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