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How Well do Foreign Exchange Markets Function: Might a Tobin Tax Help?

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  • Jeffrey A. Frankel

Abstract

Figures for 1995 estimate trading by dealers in the foreign exchange market at over $1,200 billion per day, most of it with other dealers. Some have linked this volume to concerns of excessive volatility in the market. Tobin's proposal to address this volatility with a small tax on all foreign exchange transactions has not received the serious attention it deserves. The paper argues that a better case can be made for the proposition that the tax might dampen exchange rate volatility than most economists believe. Calculations show that the tax, unlike some forms of capital control, would fall far more heavily on short-term transactions than long-term. Survey data and a simple model suggest, in turn, that short-term activity can be destabilizing. The paper also offers crude estimates of the revenue that would be raised from the Tobin tax. It is left to other authors to examine a major shortcoming of the proposal, enforceability.

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  • Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1996. "How Well do Foreign Exchange Markets Function: Might a Tobin Tax Help?," NBER Working Papers 5422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5422
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucio Sarno & Giorgio Valente, 2009. "Exchange Rates and Fundamentals: Footloose or Evolving Relationship?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 786-830, June.
    2. Young-Han Kim, 2003. "International policy coordination for financial market stability in the Asian economies," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(10), pages 1123-1132.
    3. Westerhoff Frank H., 2008. "The Use of Agent-Based Financial Market Models to Test the Effectiveness of Regulatory Policies," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(2-3), pages 195-227, April.
    4. Christopher J. Neely & Lucio Sarno, 2002. "How well do monetary fundamentals forecast exchange rates?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 51-74.
    5. Pellizzari, Paolo & Westerhoff, Frank, 2009. "Some effects of transaction taxes under different microstructures," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 850-863, December.
    6. Christopher J. Neely, 2005. "The case for foreign exchange intervention: the government as an active reserve manager," Working Papers 2004-031, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    7. Pedro Albuquerque, 2006. "BAD taxation: Disintermediation and illiquidity in a bank account debits tax model," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 13(5), pages 601-624, September.
    8. Olivier Damette, 2009. "Exchange rate volatility and noise traders: Currency Transaction Tax as an eviction device," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 2449-2464.
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    16. Damette, Olivier, 2016. "Mixture Distribution Hypothesis And The Impact Of A Tobin Tax On Exchange Rate Volatility: A Reassessment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(06), pages 1600-1622, September.
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    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange

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