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The End of Bank Secrecy? An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown

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  • Niels Johannesen

    (Department of Economics - University of Copenhagen - University of Copenhagen)

  • Gabriel Zucman

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

Abstract

During the financial crisis, G20 countries compelled tax havens to sign bilateral treaties providing for exchange of bank information. Policymakers have celebrated this global initiative as the end of bank secrecy. Exploiting a unique panel dataset, our study is the first attempt to assess how the treaties affected bank deposits in tax havens. Rather than repatriating funds, our results suggest that tax evaders shifted deposits to havens not covered by a treaty with their home country. The crackdown thus caused a relocation of deposits at the benefit of the least compliant havens. We discuss the policy implications of these findings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00665054.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00665054

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Keywords: Tax havens ; Tax evasion;

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References

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  1. May Elsayyad & Kai A. Konrad, 2010. "Fighting Multiple Tax Havens," CESifo Working Paper Series 3195, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Henry Louie & Donald Rousslang, 2008. "Host-country governance, tax treaties and US direct investment abroad," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 256-273, June.
  3. Wolfgang Eggert & Martin Kolmar, 2002. "Residence-Based Capital Taxation in a Small Open Economy: Why Information is Voluntarily Exchanged and Why it is Not," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 465-482, August.
  4. Thomas Hemmelgarn & Gaëtan Nicodème, 2009. "Tax Co-ordination in Europe: Assessing the First Years of the EU-Savings Taxation Directive," Working Papers CEB 09-023.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Dhammika Dharmapala, 2008. "What problems and opportunities are created by tax havens?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 661-679, winter.
  6. Mihir A. Desai & Dhammika Dharmapala, 2009. "Dividend Taxes and International Portfolio Choice," Working Papers 0911, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  7. Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Hines, James R, Jr & Rice, Eric M, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-82, February.
  9. Niels Johannesen, 2009. "Tax Evasion and Swiss Bank Deposits," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2010.
  10. Philippe Bacchetta & María Espinosa, 2000. "Exchange-of-Information Clauses in International Tax Treaties," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 275-293, May.
  11. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2006. "The demand for tax haven operations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 513-531, February.
  12. Dhammika Dharmapala & James R. Hines Jr., 2006. "Which Countries Become Tax Havens?," NBER Working Papers 12802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Huizinga, H.P. & Nicodeme, G., 2004. "Are international deposits tax-driven?," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-142606, Tilburg University.
  14. Kalok Chan & Vicentiu Covrig & Lilian Ng, 2005. "What Determines the Domestic Bias and Foreign Bias? Evidence from Mutual Fund Equity Allocations Worldwide," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1495-1534, 06.
  15. Katarzyna Bilicka & Clemens Fuest, 2012. "With which countries do tax havens share information?," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/06, European University Institute.
  16. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2002. "Do Bilateral Tax Treaties Promote Foreign Direct Investment?," NBER Working Papers 8834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Martin B. Knudsen & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Pedersen & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence From a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 651-692, 05.
  18. Bruce A. Blonigen & Lindsay Oldenski & Nicholas Sly, 2011. "Separating the Opposing Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties," NBER Working Papers 17480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Katarzyna Bilicka & Clemens Fuest, 2012. "With which countries do tax havens share information?," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/06, European University Institute.
  2. Jørgen Juel Andersen & Niels Johannesen & David Dreyer Lassen & Elena Paltseva, 2013. "Petro Rents, Political Institutions, and Hidden Wealth: Evidence from Bank Deposits in Tax Havens," EPRU Working Paper Series 2013-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Niels Johannesen, 2009. "Tax Evasion and Swiss Bank Deposits," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2010.
  4. Kohler, Pierre, 2014. "Asset-Centred Redistributive Policies for Sustainable Development," MPRA Paper 55357, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00565224 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Katarzyna Bilicka & Clemens Fuest, 2014. "With which countries do tax havens share information?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 175-197, April.
  7. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2013. "The economics and empirics of tax competition: A survey," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 163, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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