IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this book chapter

The evolution of the international corporate tax regime, 1920–2008

In: Business, Civil Society and the ‘New’ Politics of Corporate Tax Justice


  • Richard Woodward


Since the Financial Crisis of 2008, there has been unprecedented interest in, and political momentum behind, reform of the international corporate tax regime. This chapter outlines the origins and subsequent failings of the international corporate tax regime and identifies the factors that, criticism notwithstanding, have made it resistant to change since its origins in the 1920s. The chapter traces the critical periods in the development of the international tax regime as it currently stands, highlighting both victories and setbacks. The analysis presented highlights the difficulties of achieving meaningful reform in collective action problems, such as international taxation, that rely upon high-level international cooperation. The recent BEPS initiative is examined (and discussed further in Chapter 2), and presented as a reminder of the pervasiveness of the obstacles to reform identified elsewhere in this chapter, and in the rest of this book. While recent reforms have showed some promising signs, history suggests that prophecies of thoroughgoing change should be treated with caution.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Woodward, 2018. "The evolution of the international corporate tax regime, 1920–2008," Chapters, in: Richard Eccleston & Ainsley Elbra (ed.),Business, Civil Society and the ‘New’ Politics of Corporate Tax Justice, chapter 1, pages 22-39, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:elg:eechap:18099_1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    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:elg:eechap:18099_1. 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: (Darrel McCalla). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.