Time for a Global Financial Transaction Tax

10.10.2019

WIFO Commentary by Atanas Pekanov and Margit Schratzenstaller in the "A&W Blog"

For years, a group of 10 EU member countries has been struggling to reach an agreement on the coordinated introduction of a financial transaction tax, the scope of which has, however, become increasingly limited. According to Atanas Pekanov and Margit Schratzenstaller, the most efficient approach would be to agree on the global introduction of the tax.

Their current study explains the concept and arguments for a broad-based financial transaction tax and the current revenue estimates.

Read the full article here.
 

Publications

WIFO Working Papers, 2019, (582), 59 pages
Online since: 29.05.2019 0:00
This study presents in detail the concept of a financial transaction tax (FTT) and the theoretical and empirical evidence in favour and against introducing it, the potential revenues, different implementation designs and its ability to correct various market failures. We analyse the benefits and challenges of introducing a tax on financial transactions, putting special focus on the introduction of such a tax on a world-wide scale. For a number of reasons, international cooperation is deemed a central prerequisite for an efficient FTT. The purpose of the tax is to raise substantial revenues and help dampen excessive financial market speculation and market volatility. An FTT would ensure that the financial sector contributes more substantially to government revenues. In its optimal form, the tax would be broad-based and there will be no financial instrument types exempted. In a second step, we analyse from a political economy perspective the prospects, the current status, and the lessons learnt from the European discussion on the implementation of an FTT. Finally, we calculate the revenue potential of a global FTT and report how much revenues would accrue to specific countries. We estimate that the tax, if imposed globally and taking into account still evasion, relocation and lock-in effects, can bring significant revenues – between 237.9 and 418.8 billion $ annually. The baseline case delivers 326.9 billion $ overall for the global economy, which corresponds to 0.43 percent of global GDP. These are lower bounds for potential revenues due to missing data on a number of financial instrument types. For specific countries, in the baseline case this would result in 72.57 billion $ annual potential revenues for the USA (0.37 percent of GDP), 119.46 billion $ for the European Union (0.69 percent of GDP), 10.00 billion $ for Germany (0.27 percent of GDP), 9.99 billion $ for France (0.39 percent of GDP) and 19.99 billion $ for Japan (0.41 percent of GDP).
 
This policy brief summarises the main points of our detailed study on the concept of a financial transaction tax (FTT), the theoretical and empirical evidence in favour and against introducing it and the results of estimations of potential revenues from such a global FTT. We analyse the benefits and challenges of introducing a tax on financial transactions, putting special focus on the introduction of such a tax on a world-wide scale. For a number of reasons, international cooperation is deemed a central prerequisite for an efficient FTT. The purpose of the tax is to raise substantial revenues and help dampen excessive financial market speculation and market volatility. An FTT would ensure that the financial sector contributes more substantially to government revenues. In its optimal form, the tax would be broad-based and there will be no financial instrument types exempted. In a second step, we analyse from a political economy perspective the prospects, the current status, and the lessons learnt from the European discussion on the implementation of an FTT. Finally, we calculate the revenue potential of a global FTT and report how much revenues would accrue to specific countries and regions. We estimate that the tax, if imposed globally and taking into account evasion, relocation and lock-in effects, can bring significant revenues – between 237.9 and 418.8 billion $ annually. The baseline case delivers 326.9 billion $ overall for the global economy, which corresponds to 0.43 percent of global GDP. These are lower bounds for potential revenues due to missing data on a number of financial instrument types. For specific countries, in the baseline case this would result in 72.57 billion $ annual potential revenues for the USA (0.37 percent of GDP), 119.46 billion $ for the European Union (0.69 percent of GDP), 10.00 billion $ for Germany (0.27 percent of GDP), 9.99 billion $ for France (0.39 percent of GDP) and 19.99 billion $ for Japan (0.41 percent of GDP).
Please contact

Atanas Pekanov, MSc

Research groups: Macroeconomics and European Economic Policy

Margit Schratzenstaller-Altzinger

Research groups: Macroeconomics and European Economic Policy
© Chris Liverani/Unsplash
© Chris Liverani/Unsplash