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Offshore Financial Centres: Parasites or Symbionts?

  • Rose, Andrew K
  • Spiegel, Mark

This paper analyses the causes and consequences of offshore financial centers (OFCs). Since OFCs are likely to be tax havens and money launderers, they encourage bad behaviour in source countries. Nevertheless, OFCs may also have unintended positive consequences for their neighbours, since they act as a competitive fringe for the domestic banking sector. We derive and simulate a model of a home country monopoly bank facing a representative competitive OFC which offers tax advantages attained by moving assets offshore at a cost that is increasing in distance between the OFC and the source. Our model predicts that proximity to an OFC is likely to have pro-competitive implications for the domestic banking sector, although the overall effect on welfare is ambiguous. We test and confirm the predictions empirically. Proximity to an OFC is associated with a more competitive domestic banking system and greater overall financial depth.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5081.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5081
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  1. Luca Errico & Alberto Musalem Borrero, 1999. "Offshore Banking; An Analysis of Micro- and Macro-Prudential Issues," IMF Working Papers 99/5, International Monetary Fund.
  2. James R. Hines, Jr. & Eric M. Rice, 1990. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," NBER Working Papers 3477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Barth, James R. & Caprio Jr., Gerard & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Bank regulation and supervision : what works best?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2725, The World Bank.
  4. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2005. "International Investment Patterns," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp024, IIIS.
  5. Thorsten Beck & Ross Levine & Norman Loayza, 1999. "Financial Intermediation and Growth: Causality and Causes," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 56, Central Bank of Chile.
  6. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
  7. Harry Huizinga & Søren Bo Nielsen, . "Withholding Taxes or Information Exchange: The Taxation of International Interest Flows," EPRU Working Paper Series 00-19, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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