In a Feb. 20 opinion piece for the online journal Project Syndicate, Harvard Law School Professor Mark Roe ’75 addresses European leaders’ support for imposing a “Tobin tax” on financial transactions.

The tax, named after economist James Tobin, was originally intended to reduce exchange-rate volatility in currency markets. According to Roe: “The popularity of the tax … reflects widespread animus directed at the financial sector, but it far exceeds any real benefits that the tax would deliver. Nonetheless, elected officials find a Tobin tax highly appealing, because it could blunt criticism and divert attention from fundamental, but politically paralyzing, problems surrounding economic policy, particularly budgets, debt, and slow growth.”

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The article is the latest in a monthly series for the publication, titled The Rules of the Game. Roe co-authors the series with Luigi Zingales, the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and the David G. Booth Faculty Fellow at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

An expert on corporate law, finance, and bankruptcy and reorganization, Roe is the author of several books, including the casebook “Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization: Legal and Financial Materials” (Thomson Reuters/Foundation Press 3d ed. 2011) and “Corporate Governance: Political and Legal Perspectives” (Edward Elgar Publishing 2005). He recently wrote “The Derivatives Players’ Payment Priorities as Financial Crisis Accelerator,” which was published in the Stanford Law Review (2011). In 2002, Roe was named a fellow at the European Corporate Governance Institute, a nonprofit organization whose primary role is to undertake, commission and disseminate research on corporate governance.