IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Bank secrecy, illicit money and offshore financial centers


  • Picard, Pierre M.
  • Pieretti, Patrice


This paper discusses the effects of pressure policies on offshore financial centers as well as their ability to enforce the compliance of those centers with anti-money laundering regulations. Offshore banks can be encouraged to comply with rigorous monitoring of an investor's identity and the origin of his/her funds when pressure creates a sufficiently high risk of reputational harm to the investor. We show that such pressure policies harm both offshore and onshore investors and can benefit both the bank industry and tax administrations. We show that social optimal pressure policies are dichotomous decisions between no pressure at all and a pressure great enough to persuade offshore banks to comply. The delegation of pressure policies to onshore tax institutions may be inefficient. Deeper financial integration fosters compliance by the offshore center.

Suggested Citation

  • Picard, Pierre M. & Pieretti, Patrice, 2011. "Bank secrecy, illicit money and offshore financial centers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 942-955.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7:p:942-955 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.01.004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Factor mobility and redistribution," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 57, pages 2529-2560 Elsevier.
    3. Donato Masciandaro, 2005. "False and Reluctant Friends? National Money Laundering Regulation, International Compliance and Non-Cooperative Countries," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 17-30, July.
    4. Abbott, Kenneth W. & Snidal, Duncan, 2000. "Hard and Soft Law in International Governance," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 421-456, June.
    5. Kanbur, Ravi & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination When Countries Differ in Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 877-892, September.
    6. AndrewK. Rose & MarkM. Spiegel, 2007. "Offshore Financial Centres: Parasites or Symbionts?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1310-1335, October.
    7. Wilson, John Douglas & Wildasin, David E., 2004. "Capital tax competition: bane or boon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1065-1091, June.
    8. FitzGerald, Valpy, 2004. "Global financial information, compliance incentives and terrorist funding," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 387-401, June.
    9. Slemrod, Joel & Wilson, John D., 2009. "Tax competition with parasitic tax havens," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1261-1270, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Patrice Pieretti & Giuseppe Pulina, 2015. "Tax havens under international pressure: How do they react?," CREA Discussion Paper Series 15-03, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    2. Balakina, Olga & D’Andrea, Angelo & Masciandaro, Donato, 2017. "Bank secrecy in offshore centres and capital flows: Does blacklisting matter?," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 30-57.
    3. Raffaella Barone & Donato Masciandaro, 2011. "Organized crime, money laundering and legal economy: theory and simulations," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 115-142, August.
    4. repec:eee:dyncon:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:152-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:idb:brikps:81941 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Money laundering; Offshore banking; Compliance;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7:p:942-955. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.