Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Economics

Supervisor

Kul Bhatia

Abstract

My dissertation consists of three chapters related to accrued capital gains. The first essay is concerned with estimating the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) out of accrued capital gains on owner-occupied housing in Canada. Its main methodological contribution lies in using a hedonic price equation to value these gains. The results suggest that for every 1 dollar increase in expected housing capital gains households increase total consumption by approximately 8.2 cents, and increase non-durable consumption by 6.2 cents.

The second essay of this thesis proposes a model of economic behaviour that can explain why corporations pay dividends despite their tax disadvantage relative to share repurchases. The key result is that firms must pay a premium above the intrinsic value of equity to repurchase shares, reflecting the lock-in effect caused by a realization-based capital gains tax system. In equilibrium, firms pay dividends whenever this additional cost is sufficiently high.

The third essay examines the effect of capital income taxation on corporate payout policy in Canada. The analysis makes use of a new dataset on share repurchases carried out by Toronto Stock Exchange listed Canadian corporations over the period 1987-2008. It also uses new estimates of Canadian average marginal tax rates applied to capital income. The results suggest that total payout is positively related to changes in both the corporate income tax rate and the capital gains tax rate, but is unaffected by the dividend tax rate. The results also suggest that share repurchases are positively related to changes in the dividend tax rate and negatively related to changes in the capital gains tax rate. Dividends are found to have a positive relationship with capital gains tax changes.


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