If we have a bank tax, make it a deposit levy

By Matt Nolan 03/04/2013


I argue the deposit levy point (as a form of insurance) here.

The only point I have to add is that some may say “why charge poor old depositors”.  I’d note here that we need to think about the “incidence of tax” – if it is true that depositors have no market power, then the entire burden of the tax will fall on banks and borrowers.

This is all part of a broader debate on deposit guarantees (here, here) – if we rule them out, we rule out the justification for a levy as well.  I’d add there is a big issue I haven’t touched – what is our ability to limit deposit insurance given concerns about “bank stability”, and what do we do when banks are just too big (think Ireland and Iceland).  My real desire is to see transparent, and credible, ex-ante policy … and to be honest about the trade-offs we are facing and accepting.

Either way, my focused has switched back to methodology issues as I’ve realised I need to intensify work on my NZAE paper this year (posts here and here) … in case they actually decide to accept the abstract I’ve just submitted.  As a result, when I next get a chance to sit down there are two posts I want to write about assumptions, and then I might start blogging some of the background material I’ve already written about for the paper.

However, knowing me I’ll just start ranting about whatever I see in the paper instead ;)