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English

Explaining the failure of international tax regulations throughout the 20th century. Offshore Markets, Swiss Tax Haven's Diplomacy and Fiscal Debates in International Organizations, From the League of Nations to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Number of pages17
Collection
  • Working Papers of the Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History; 6/2016
Publication date2016
Abstract

Based on original sources from national and international organizations archives, this paper offers a new perspective on debates on tax evasion in multilateral arenas during the whole 20th Century. A closer look at the cycles of emergence and disappearance of this topic enables to understand why these discussions were raised inside international organizations and why they constantly failed. This paper focuses in particular on the foundation of tax multilateralism at the League of Nations (1922-1928) and the early activities of the OEEC Fiscal Committee (1956-1963), as well as on OECD efforts to increase international cooperation against tax evasion practices from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. In three cases, multilateral initiatives against tax evasion faced unyielding opposition by business interests and tax haven countries such as Switzerland. However, in order to explain the failure of the regulations, we have also to take into account the interests of big countries in maintaining offshore activities. Ultimately, the paper demonstrates how international organizations served as multipliers for dominant power relations on issues of international taxation.

Keywords
  • History
  • Taxation
  • Tax havens
  • Switzerland
  • International organizations
  • OECD
Classification
  • JEL : N00
NoteAmended document following the decision of the Rectorate from February 19th, 2019.
Citation (ISO format)
FARQUET, Christophe, LEIMGRUBER, Matthieu. Explaining the failure of international tax regulations throughout the 20th century. Offshore Markets, Swiss Tax Haven’s Diplomacy and Fiscal Debates in International Organizations, From the League of Nations to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 2016
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Identifiers
  • PID : unige:88348
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