Inflation and capital gains taxes in a small open economy

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Journal / PublicationInternational Review of Economics and Finance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


Inflation distorts an economy through many channels. This paper highlights the interaction between inflation and capital gains tax and their distortions to a small open economy through the financial market. This research captures several observations. First, capital formation or investment is an important channel for consumption smoothing over the life cycles. Second, capital gains are taxed only when the gains are realized. Third, inflation introduces an upward bias in the calculation of tax base. Thus, a capital gains tax in the presence of inflation can have a significant welfare effect even though its contribution to the government revenue is relatively small. The quantitative analysis shows that high inflation alone can lower social welfare. This problem becomes more severe when capital gains tax is introduced in an inflationary economy. The implicit inflation tax can be more hazardous to the economy than the explicit counterpart. © 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Research Area(s)

  • Amplifying effect, Capital gains tax, E51, E52, G18, H20, Inflation, Welfare cost