Does differential taxation of short-term relative to long-term capital gains affect long-term investment?

Abstract

Pressure from short-horizon investors can hurt investments in innovative, long-run value-increasing projects. We explore the efficacy of a commonly proposed tax-based policy tool to mitigate this problem: the imposition of differentially greater taxes on short-term capital gains vis-à-vis long-term capital gains. Using a panel of 30 OECD countries in which seven countries exhibit 21 changes to differential capital gains taxation over 1991-2006, we find that rewarding longer-term ownership through lower taxes is associated with greater innovation. The evidence adds to our understanding of the real effects of taxation on investor trading and informs the debate on the use of capital gains taxes to address corporate myopia.

Participating Institutions

TRR 266‘s main locations are Paderborn University (Coordinating University), HU Berlin, and University of Mannheim. All three locations have been centers for accounting and tax research for many years. They are joined by researchers from LMU Munich, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, ESMT Berlin, Goethe University Frankfurt and Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg who share the same research agenda.