Full text: Capital Gains in Economic Theory and National Accounting

the capital gains undoubtedly play a substantial role, while the direct share 
holding may not have so much influence on consumption in view of the great 
concentration of the ownership of shares in households. The pension funds hold 
investments mainly shares in order to secure the servicing of the future pension 
claims; they are in addition fed by contributions from the employer. These 
contributions have to be stopped as soon as the investment portefeuille has 
reached a value whichO guarantees the safety of the pension claims. Growth of 
the investment portefeuille comes about partly by successful speculation in 
which the fund managers are experts. 
The national accounts include the employers contribution in the disposable 
income of the employees ( Account 1 ). Again, the capital gains realised by the 
pension funds are included in the capital gains of the households, because the 
pension funds are regarded as part of the households. If there are large 
realised capital gains as in the middle of the eighties the disposable incomes 
of employees will be reduced by the reduction in contributions but this will be 
offset in part at least by the large realised capital gains. Consequently the 
NIPA measure of saving will be reduced by the full amount of the cut in 
contributions, but the saving gross of capital gains will be reduced much less 
if at all. To the apparent and not in any common sense meaning real reduction in 
household saving corresponds a prima facie saving of the corporation by the 
amount of the cut in contributions. What happens with that - whether it goes 
into dividends, is passed on to the employee in form of higher wages, or is 
retained as corporate saving is difficult to say, so that the apparent reduction 
in household saving may or may not be offset ,fully or partly, by an increase in 
corporate saving. It should be noted, however, that the corporations also 
receive capital gains and may use them to finance dividend payments or 
investment in real capital which means that there will be a corresponding 
apparent and not real reduction in corporate saving.

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