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The Deterrence Effect of Whistleblowing: An Event Study of Leaked Customer Information from Banks in Tax Havens

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  • Niels Johannesen
  • Tim Stolper

Abstract

We document that the first leak of customer information from a tax haven bank caused a sudden flight of deposits from tax havens and a sharp decrease in the market value of banks known to be assisting with tax evasion. The loss of market value was largest for the banks most strongly involved in tax evasion and zero for banks with no known ties to tax evasion. Subsequent leaks had qualitatively similar although smaller effects. Our findings suggest that whistleblowing in tax haven banks deters offshore tax evaders by increasing the perceived risk of committing and assisting with tax evasion.

Suggested Citation

  • Niels Johannesen & Tim Stolper, 2017. "The Deterrence Effect of Whistleblowing: An Event Study of Leaked Customer Information from Banks in Tax Havens," CESifo Working Paper Series 6784, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6784
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    Cited by:

    1. Laila Ait Bihi Ouali, 2019. "Top Income Tax Evasion and Redistribution Preferences: Evidence from the Panama Papers," AMSE Working Papers 1901, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    2. Niels Johannesen & Patrick Langetieg & Daniel Reck & Max Risch & Joel Slemrod, 2020. "Taxing Hidden Wealth: The Consequences of US Enforcement Initiatives on Evasive Foreign Accounts," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 312-346, August.
    3. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Tax Evasion and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(6), pages 2073-2103, June.
    4. Vincent Bouvatier & Gunther Capelle-Blancard & Anne-Laure Delatte, 2017. "Banks Defy Gravity in Tax Havens," Working Papers 2017-16, CEPII research center.
    5. Alstadsæter, Annette & Johannesen, Niels & Le Guern Herry, Ségal & Zucman, Gabriel, 2022. "Tax evasion and tax avoidance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 206(C).
    6. Jørgen Juel Andersen & Niels Johannesen & Bob Rijkers, 2022. "Elite Capture of Foreign Aid: Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 130(2), pages 388-425.
    7. Tim B.M. Stolper, 2017. "A Step Change in Tax Transparency? An Event Study on How the Automatic Exchange of Information Did Not Affect Swiss Banks," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2017-10, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    whistleblowing; economic crime; tax evasion; tax havens;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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