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

Author

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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 Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6784
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Tax Evasion and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(6), pages 2073-2103, June.
    3. Erlend E. Bø & Joel Slemrod & Thor O. Thoresen, 2015. "Taxes on the Internet: Deterrence Effects of Public Disclosure," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 36-62, February.
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    5. Johannesen, Niels, 2014. "Tax evasion and Swiss bank deposits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 46-62.
    6. Jørgen Juel Andersen & Niels Johannesen & David Dreyer Lassen & Elena Paltseva, 2017. "Petro Rents, Political Institutions, and Hidden Wealth: Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 818-860.
    7. Langenmayr, Dominika, 2017. "Voluntary disclosure of evaded taxes — Increasing revenue, or increasing incentives to evade?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 110-125.
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    9. Alstadsæter, Annette & Johannesen, Niels & Zucman, Gabriel, 2018. "Who owns the wealth in tax havens? Macro evidence and implications for global inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 89-100.
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    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:cpr:ceprdp:14481 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Laila Ait Bihi Ouali, 2019. "Top Income Tax Evasion and Redistribution Preferences: Evidence from the Panama Papers," Working Papers halshs-01978131, HAL.
    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. 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.
    5. Andersen,Jorgen Juel & Johannesen,Niels & Rijkers,Bob, 2020. "Elite Capture of Foreign Aid : Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9150, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    whistleblowing; economic crime; tax evasion; tax havens;

    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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