This paper argues that securities transaction taxes "throw sand" not in the wheels, but into the engine of financial markets where the transformation of latent demands into realized transactions takes place. The paper considers the impact of transaction taxes on financial markets in the context of four questions. How important is trading? What causes price volatility? How are prices formed? How valuable is the volume of transactions? The paper concludes that transaction taxes or such equivalents as capital controls can have negative effects on price discovery, volatility, and liquidity and lead to a reduction in the informational efficiency of markets.
Ambiguity, as opposed to uncertainty, reflects lack of sufficient information about distribution and payoffs of infrequent events. Reforms are infrequent events, undertaken in ambiguous second-best environments where bad reform outcomes are feasible. A general case for the gradualist reform strategy is that it may pay to defer some reforms until relevant information about possible reform outcomes and associated probabilities is revealed, and ambiguity is reduced over time. Gradualism may dominate the big bang strategy, if some of the reforms in a reform sequence are not sure bets and waiting costs do not dominate reversal costs under some information sets forthcoming over time. The relation to Ellsberg's Paradox is discussed. Some cases for and against gradualism are reviewed.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Senegal’s real effective exchange rate (REER) and external competitiveness. A REER significantly above its equilibrium, as determined by economic fundamentals, can impede a country’s external competitiveness, calling for corrective macroeconomic measures. This paper finds no conclusive evidence of a REER overvaluation, implying that structural reforms are key to improving Senegal’s external competitiveness. The paper also describes Senegal’s export performance, developments of the REER, and an empirical analysis of the equilibrium REER. Structural measures of competitiveness are also illustrated.