Policy Article

The German-French proposal for a European financial transaction tax - International comparison and policy recommendations (in German)

Kieler Beiträge zur Wirtschaftspolitik, 24 Download

According to a recent German-French proposal, a financial market transaction tax (FTT) at a rate of 0.2% on the purchase of securities is to be introduced in 10 EU countries, including Germany, and limited to shares in large companies. In their study, the authors compare this proposal in an international perspective, assess its strengths and weaknesses on the basis of empirical evidence and develop policy recommendations. Overall, from an economic perspective, they support the introduction of an EU FTT at a tax rate of 0.2%, since an FTT on equities is an internationally and historically proven tax that can be levied at minimal cost, and that is usage-based. For the first time, a centralised and Europe-wide harmonised electronic taxation system for financial transactions could be established. However, the authors regard the limitation to traditional stock market trading – excluding the dominant derivatives, bonds and intraday trading – as the greatest weakness of such an FTT. Corporate stock markets and equity financing would be discriminated and a large part of potential tax revenues would not be exhausted. Therefore, in their view, the best solution would be to introduce a broader tax that includes derivatives and bonds, as well as over-the-counter trading and, in the medium term, high-frequency trading.