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The Deterrence Effect of Whistleblowing – An Event Study of Leaked Customer Information from Banks in Tax Havens

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  • Niels Johannesen
  • Tim B.M. Stolper

Abstract

We document that the first leak of customer information from a tax haven bank caused a sudden flight of deposits from tax havens and a sharp decrease in the market value of banks known to be assisting with tax evasion. The loss of market value was largest for the banks most strongly involved in tax evasion and zero for banks with no known ties to tax evasion. Subsequent leaks had qualitatively similar although smaller e¤ects. Our findings suggest that whistleblowing in tax haven banks deters o¤shore tax evaders by increasing the perceived risk of committing and assisting with tax evasion.

Suggested Citation

  • Niels Johannesen & Tim B.M. Stolper, 2017. "The Deterrence Effect of Whistleblowing – An Event Study of Leaked Customer Information from Banks in Tax Havens," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2017-04_2, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpi:wpaper:tax-mpg-rps-2017-04_2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alstadsæter, Annette & Johannesen, Niels & Le Guern Herry, Ségal & Zucman, Gabriel, 2022. "Tax evasion and tax avoidance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 206(C).
    2. Jørgen Juel Andersen & Niels Johannesen & Bob Rijkers, 2022. "Elite Capture of Foreign Aid: Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 130(2), pages 388-425.
    3. Vincent Bouvatier & Gunther Capelle-Blancard & Anne-Laure Delatte, 2017. "Banks Defy Gravity in Tax Havens," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-03101505, HAL.
    4. Niels Johannesen & Patrick Langetieg & Daniel Reck & Max Risch & Joel Slemrod, 2020. "Taxing Hidden Wealth: The Consequences of US Enforcement Initiatives on Evasive Foreign Accounts," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 312-346, August.
    5. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Tax Evasion and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(6), pages 2073-2103, June.
    6. Tim B.M. Stolper, 2017. "A Step Change in Tax Transparency? An Event Study on How the Automatic Exchange of Information Did Not Affect Swiss Banks," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2017-10, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    whistleblowing; economic crime; tax evasion; tax havens;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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