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Offshore Financial Centres: Parasites or Symbionts?

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  • Rose, Andrew K
  • Spiegel, Mark

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rose, Andrew K & Spiegel, Mark, 2005. "Offshore Financial Centres: Parasites or Symbionts?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5081, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5081
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
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    3. Barth, James R. & Caprio, Gerard Jr. & Levine, Ross, 2004. "Bank regulation and supervision: what works best?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 205-248, April.
    4. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    5. Huizinga, Harry & Nielsen, Soren Bo, 2003. "Withholding taxes or information exchange: the taxation of international interest flows," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 39-72, January.
    6. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2008. "International Investment Patterns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 538-549, August.
    7. Luca Errico & Alberto Musalem Borrero, 1999. "Offshore Banking; An Analysis of Micro- and Macro-Prudential Issues," IMF Working Papers 99/5, International Monetary Fund.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    asset; competitive; cross-section; data; empirical; haven; money; tax; theory;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

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