Welfare and Distribution Effects of Bank Secrecy Laws
We analyze an overlapping-generations world comprising two groups of small countries whose preferences for public spending differ. Key steady-state effects from introducing bank secrecy and a withholding tax in countries with low government spending are: a reduction of global capital and income, a shift of wealth towards bank-secrecy countries, and falling consumption, welfare and government spending despite rising tax rates in the rest of the world. Qualitative results are robust to changes in tax-payer honesty, the Leviathan effect (permitting governments to drive public spending higher than citizens prefer), and the fraction of withholding taxes repatriated to countries of residence.
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