Should Speculators Be Taxed?
A number of economists have supported the taxation of speculation in financial markets. We examine the welfare economics of such a tax in a model of a financial market where some agents have superior information and others have a hedging motive. We show that a tax on speculators may actually increase speculative profits. This occurs if the speculators' benefit from less-informative prices offsets the cost of the tax. The effect on the welfare of other agents depends on how information revelation changes risk-sharing opportunities. It is possible for the introduction of a tax to cause a Pareto improvement. Copyright 2000 by University of Chicago Press.
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