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Money Laundering and its Regulation

  • Alberto E. Chong
  • Florencio López-de-Silanes

The recent wave of terrorist attacks has increased the attention paid to money laundering activities. Using several methodologies, this paper investigates empirically the determinants of money laundering and its regulation in over 80 countries by assembling a cross-country dataset on proxies for money laundering and the prevalence of feeding activities. The paper additionally constructs specific money laundering regulation indices based on available information on laws and their mechanisms of enforcement and measures their impact on money laundering proxies. The paper finds that tougher money laundering regulations, particularly those that criminalize feeding activities and improve disclosure, are linked to lower levels of money laundering across countries; the results are robust to potential endogeneity of money laundering regulation. The relevance of historical factors in explaining the variation of money laundering regulation across countries sheds light on theories of institutions and provides room for further action, particularly in the areas of the law that improve the impact of criminalization, including liability of intermediaries, reductions of the burden of proof and better disclosure.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications (Working Papers) with number 6726.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6726
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  1. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-50, July.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Pop-Eleches, Cristian & Shleifer, Andrei, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Scholarly Articles 3451311, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. repec:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:1:p:1-37 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1203-50 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, 04.
  8. Friedrich Schneider & Robert Klinglmair, 2004. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we know?," Economics working papers 2004-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  9. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:4:p:1339-1382 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Raimundo Soto, 2003. "La Corrupción desde una Perspectiva Económica," Documentos de Trabajo 234, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
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