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Tax havens or safe havens

  • Pieretti, Patrice
  • Thisse, Jacques-François
  • Zanaj, Skerdilajda

Our aim is to explain how a small country can be viable as an international banking center (IBC). We build a model in which mobile investors choose between two banking centers located respectively in a small country and in a large country. These countries compete in two instruments, taxation and institutional infrastructure. It follows that an IBC can be a tax haven, a safe haven, or both. A small country that hosts an IBC is a safe haven when it is able to provide a high level of institutional infrastructure, whereas it chooses to be a tax haven when it cannot be competitive in institutional infrastructure. Even in this last case, an IBC need not be as bad as claimed in the general press because its presence fosters institutional competition across countries, which is ultimately beneficial to all investors.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8570.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8570
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  1. Patrice Pieretti & Skerdilajda Zanaj, 2009. "On tax competition, public goods provision and jurisdictions' size," CREA Discussion Paper Series 09-14, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 2000. "Investor protection and corporate governance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-27.
  3. PIERETTI, Patrice & ZANAJ, Skerdilajda, 2009. "On tax competition, public goods provision and jurisdictions’ size," CORE Discussion Papers 2009012, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Hampton, Mark P. & Christensen, John, 2002. "Offshore Pariahs? Small Island Economies, Tax Havens, and the Re-configuration of Global Finance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1657-1673, September.
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  8. Dhammika Dharmapala & James R. Hines Jr., 2006. "Which Countries Become Tax Havens?," NBER Working Papers 12802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
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  18. James R. Hines, 2010. "Treasure Islands," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 103-26, Fall.
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