The Real Effects of Capital Control Taxes: Firm-Level Evidence from a Policy Experiment
Emerging-market governments adopted capital control taxes to manage the massive surge in foreign capital inflows in aftermath of the global financial crisis. Theory suggests that the imposition of capital controls can drive up the cost of capital and curb investment. This paper evaluates the effects of capital controls on firm-level stock returns and real investment using data from Brazil. On average, there is a statistically significant drop in cumulative abnormal returns consistent with an increase in the cost of capital for Brazilian firms following capital control announcements. The results suggest significant variation across firms and financial instruments. Large firms and the largest exporting firms appear less negatively affected compared to external finance-dependent firms, and capital controls on equity inflows have a more negative announcement effect on equity returns than those on debt inflows. Real investment falls in the three years following the controls. Overall, the findings have implications for macro-finance models that abstract from heterogeneity at the firm level to examine the optimality of capital control taxation.
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This paper was revised on February 16, 2016
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20726
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