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Estimating Illicit Flows of Capital via Trade Mispricing: A Forensic Analysis of Data on Switzerland - Working Paper 350

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  • Alex Cobham

    ()

  • Petr Janský

    ()

  • Alex Prats

    ()

Abstract

This paper assesses the role of Switzerland as the leading hub for global commodities trading, in terms of the patterns of prices received by original exporting countries and subsequently by Switzerland and other jurisdictions. We find support for the hypotheses that (i) the average prices for commodity exports from developing countries to Switzerland are lower than those to other jurisdictions; and that (ii) Switzerland declares higher (re-)export prices for those commodities than do other jurisdictions. This pattern implies a potential capital loss for commodity exporting developing countries and we provide a range of estimates of that loss – each of which suggests the scale is substantial (the most conservative is around $8 billion a year) and that the issue merits greater research and policy attention. An important first step would be a Swiss commitment to meet international norms of trade transparency.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Cobham & Petr Janský & Alex Prats, 2014. "Estimating Illicit Flows of Capital via Trade Mispricing: A Forensic Analysis of Data on Switzerland - Working Paper 350," Working Papers 350, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:350
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    File URL: https://www.cgdev.org/publication/estimating-illicit-flows-capital-trade-mispricing-forensic-analysis-data-switzerland
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maria de Boyrie & Simon Pak & John Zdanowicz, 2005. "The impact of Switzerland's money laundering law on capital flows through abnormal pricing in international trade," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 217-230.
    2. Clausing, Kimberly A., 2003. "Tax-motivated transfer pricing and US intrafirm trade prices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2207-2223, September.
    3. Zdanowicz John S., 2009. "Trade-Based Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 855-878, December.
    4. Clemens Fuest & Nadine Riedel, 2010. "Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance in Developing Countries: The Role of International Profit Shifting," Working Papers 1012, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Petr Janský, 2015. "Updating the Rich Countries’ Commitment to Development Index: How They Help Poorer Ones Through Curbing Illicit Financial Flows," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 43-65, October.
    2. Maria Siranova & Menbere Workie Tiruneh, 2016. "The determinants of errors and omissions in a small and open economy: The case of Slovakia," Working Papers wp73, Institute of Economic Research, SAS, revised 08 Apr 2016.
    3. Daniel Dujava & Maria Siranova, 2017. "Getting the Measures of Trade Misinvoicing Right: Bilateral Panel Data Approach," Working Papers wp98, Institute of Economic Research, SAS, revised 20 Dec 2017.
    4. Petr Janský & Ondřej Kokeš, 2015. "Corporate tax base erosion and profit shifting out of the Czech Republic," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 537-546, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    illicit financial flows; trade mispricing; transparency; commodities;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F39 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Other
    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts
    • F63 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Economic Development
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy

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