Piercing the offshore veil: new frontiers in research on tax and secrecy haven use in developing countries [paper]

Daniel Haberly (University of Sussex)
Alex Cobham (Tax Justice Network)
Opening up the Market
Library Presentation Room
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The impacts of tax and secrecy 'haven' use are felt most acutely in lower-income countries. Papers in this panel present research that sheds new light on the patterns, drivers, and impacts of haven use, as well as the effectiveness of ongoing and prospective international reform efforts.

Long abstract:

Growing attention has become focused on the uses and abuses of tax and secrecy 'havens' by corporations and individuals. The impacts of this use are global; however, they are felt most acutely in lower-income countries, where they are associated with issues including the laundering and storage of the proceeds of corruption and other illicit activity, the erosion of state fiscal capacity, and the exacerbation of financial instability and balance of payments problems. There are increasingly concerted haven-targeted reform efforts by both international bodies (e.g. OECD and EU) and national governments. However, critical questions remain regarding the patterns, drivers and impacts of haven use, as well as the effectiveness of specific reforms. Indeed, for lower-income countries in particular, poor data quality often makes it challenging to assess even basic issues such as the overall scale of haven use. Papers in this panel will present research that sheds new light on these questions from an academic and policy perspective, with a focus on examining the following in the context of lower-income economies: 1) Who makes use of haven jurisdictions (e.g. foreign multinationals vs local firms and individuals) where and on what scale? 2) What are the drivers of haven use in various contexts? 3) What are the impacts of haven use on lower-income countries? 4) How effective are national and international interventions at curtailing either the use of haven jurisdictions, or its negative impacts?, and 5) What should be done to supplement or enhance the effectiveness of these interventions?