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Sand in the wheels or spanner in the works? The Tobin tax and global finance

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  • John Grahl

Abstract

This paper presents a radical critique of the Tobin tax--a tax on currency transactions--by undercutting certain assumptions about the size and character of the world's foreign exchange markets which furnish the tax with its basic rationale. While it is acknowledged that only a fraction of the massive volumes of FX transactions relate directly to trade in goods and services or to cross border investments, it is denied that all the residual transactions are motivated purely by exchange rate considerations (speculative or hedging activities). Rather, the argument is that a significant proportion of FX trades have money market characteristics and that these trades, together with domestic money market transactions, play an important role in the day to day operation of the global financial system. This perspective is used to show that the imposition of a Tobin tax would cause extensive material damage to the system, with consequences that may run counter to the expectations of supporters of the tax. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

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  • John Grahl, 2003. "Sand in the wheels or spanner in the works? The Tobin tax and global finance," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(4), pages 597-621, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:27:y:2003:i:4:p:597-621
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    Cited by:

    1. John Grahl & Photis Lysandrou, 2014. "The European Commission's Proposal for a Financial Transactions Tax: A Critical Assessment," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 234-249, March.
    2. Stephan Schulmeister, 2014. "A General Financial Transactions Tax. Motives, Effects and Implementation According to the Proposal of the European Commission," WIFO Working Papers 461, WIFO.
    3. Stephan Schulmeister, 2009. "A General Financial Transaction Tax: The Concept, its Justification and Effects," WIFO Working Papers 352, WIFO.
    4. Peter Nunnenkamp & Rainer Thiele, 2013. "Financing for Development: The Gap between Words and Deeds since Monterrey," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 31(1), pages 75-98, January.
    5. Yiannis Kitromilides & Ana Rosa González, 2013. "The EU Financial Transactions Tax: Antecedents and Current Debate," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(3), pages 311-321, May.
    6. Andrea Terzi, 2003. "Is a transactions tax an effective means to stabilize the foreign exchange market?," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 56(227), pages 367-385.
    7. Jan Toporowski, 2012. "Neologism as Theoretical Innovation in Economics: The case of 'Financialisation'," Working Papers 171, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK.
    8. Yates Nicholas A, 2009. "Revisiting the Tobin Tax, in the Context of Development and the Financial Crisis," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 257-282, November.

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