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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 6 No. 1 (February 2014)

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The End of Bank Secrecy? An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown

Article Citation

Johannesen, Niels, and Gabriel Zucman. 2014. "The End of Bank Secrecy? An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 6(1): 65-91.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.1.65

Abstract

During the financial crisis, G20 countries compelled tax havens to sign bilateral treaties providing for exchange of bank information. Policymakers have celebrated this global initiative as the end of bank secrecy. Exploiting a unique panel dataset, our study is the first attempt to assess how the treaties affected bank deposits in tax havens. Rather than repatriating funds, our results suggest that tax evaders shifted deposits to havens not covered by a treaty with their home country. The crackdown thus caused a relocation of deposits at the benefit of the least compliant havens. We discuss the policy implications of these findings.

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Online Appendix (413.31 KB) | Download Data Set (1.61 MB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (136.66 KB)

Authors

Johannesen, Niels (U Copenhagen)
Zucman, Gabriel (U CA, Berkeley and London School of Economics and Political Science)

JEL Classifications

G21: Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
G28: Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation
H26: Tax Evasion
H87: International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
K34: Tax Law

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