The Global Networks of Tax Havens

Authors: Thomas Sigler*, University of Queensland
Topics: Economic Geography, Political Geography, Business Geography
Keywords: Tax Havens; Offshore Financial Centres; Economic Geography; Financial Geography; Global Networks
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Tax havens are important, yet often overlooked, nodes within the global economic system. Each year, billions of dollars circumvent conventional regulatory and taxation frameworks through tax havens. Contrary to assumption that these are often 'rogue' jurisdictions circulating the proceeds of unlawful activities, it is now well-known that many of the world's largest corporations are structured to route their profits through 'offshore' locations such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, and 'onshore' countries such as the Netherlands and Luxembourg. As a result, corporate structures often mimic the geographies of taxation rather than actual production or consumption activities. This issue becomes even more salient as cryptocurrencies are decoupled from national territories, and as the lines between multinational and domestic firms become increasingly blurred. This presentation investigates the role that tax havens play in global corporate networks by industry and country. Drawing upon data from several hundred thousand firm subsidiaries across 12 of the world’s largest stock exchanges, the role of individual jurisdictions is analyzed using social network analysis, drawing into sharper relief questions of global corporate governance, taxation, and the financial integrity of the contemporary territorial nation-state.

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