Paul Lachine

Le problème avec Tobin

CAMBRIDGE – Les dirigeants européens envisagent sérieusement d’instaurer la taxe Tobin, par laquelle un petit prélèvement serait perçu sur les transactions financières, tempérant ainsi le volume des transactions. Mais cette taxe pourrait-elle produire les effets escomptés par ceux qui la préconisent ?

La popularité de la taxe (du nom de l’économiste Nobel feu James Tobin, pour qui cette taxe avait pour but de stabiliser les taux de change des marchés des devises) reflète l’animosité générale visant le secteur financier. Mais elle est disproportionnée par rapport aux avantages réels que cette taxe est en mesure d’amener. Malgré tout, la taxe Tobin exerce un attrait irrésistible sur les autorités élues, car elle permet de détourner les critiques et l'attention des problèmes fondamentaux, mais politiquement paralysants, qui entourent la politique économique, particulièrement les budgets, la dette et la croissance.

Il est certain qu’une taxe Tobin comporte des avantages, même si elle ne peut régler qu’une partie des problèmes dont sont affligés aujourd’hui les marchés financiers. Une taxe sur les transactions boursières favoriserait un horizon de placement à plus long terme, car elle consiste à imposer la liquidité, qu'un grand nombre d’analystes jugent trop abondante. Elle favoriserait l’analyse fondamentale des résultats d'exploitation d’une société, certains tenants attendent même d’une taxe Tobin qu’elle incite les entreprises à se préoccuper davantage de leur valeur à long terme.

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