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Some Aspects of the Taxation of Capital Gains

Stiglitz, Joseph E.

The analysis of the effects of capital gains taxation requires a careful modelling both of the details of the tax code and the imperfections in the capital market. Under the standard assumptions concerning perfect capital markets and under the standard idealizations of the tax code, there are several strategies by which rational investors can avoid note only all taxes on their capital income, but also all taxes on their wage income; these strategies leave individuals' consumption and bequests in each state of nature and at each date unchanged from what they would have been in the absence of taxes. Although certain detailed provisions of the tax code may limit the extent to which rational investors can avail themselves of these tax avoidance activities, there are ways, in a perfect capital market, by which the effects of these restrictions can be ameliorated. Accordingly, any analysis of the effects of capital taxation must focus on imperfect capital markets.

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Economics
Published Here
April 29, 2013
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