The Dynamics of Global Economic Governance

The Dynamics of Global Economic Governance

The Financial Crisis, the OECD, and the Politics of International Tax Cooperation

Richard Eccleston

This book focuses on international taxation and examines how the financial crisis prompted renewed attempts to enhance international tax transparency and confront tax havens. It highlights the complexity of international regime change and the significance of national and financial interests, international organizations, domestic politics and the emerging G20 leaders forum in this process.

Chapter 4: The financial crisis and the politics of international tax cooperation

Richard Eccleston

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy, regulation and governance


By the mid-2000s the campaign to promote international tax transparency was floundering, characterised by analysts as being the victim of a ‘politics without conviction’ (Palan et al. 2010). Yet contrary to expectations, there has since been significant and unexpected progress insofar as tax information exchange agreements are concerned. Whereas before 2006 a mere 11 OECD TIEAs had been signed, renewed enthusiasm for tax transparency has been such that some 440 had been agreed by late 2011 (see Figure 4.2 below). Beyond this progress on bilateral information exchange agreements there have been significant parallel developments, including the agreement of all OECD member states (including Switzerland) to the revised Article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention with provisions requiring parties to exchange tax information under ‘foreseeably relevant’ circumstances irrespective of bank secrecy provisions. This chapter analyses the rejuvenation of the international tax transparency regime with particular reference to the impact of structural and organisational variables on patterns of international cooperation, while Chapter 5 will be devoted to assessing the influence of domestic politics on the regime. At first blush casual observers may be tempted to conclude that renewed interest in international tax issues in recent years is a logical and inevitable consequence of the financial crisis that could readily be explained by structuralist accounts of regime change described in Chapter 2.

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