Business, Civil Society and the ‘New’ Politics of Corporate Tax Justice
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Business, Civil Society and the ‘New’ Politics of Corporate Tax Justice

Paying a Fair Share?

Edited by Richard Eccleston and Ainsley Elbra

Since the financial crisis the extent of corporate tax avoidance has attracted media headlines and the attention of political leaders the world over. This study examines the ‘new’ politics of corporate taxation and the role of civil society organisations in shaping the international tax agenda and influencing the tax practices of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations. It highlights the complex and multi-dimensional strategies used by activists to influence public opinion, formal regulation and corporate behaviour in relation to international taxation.
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Chapter 4: Tax justice activists in global wealth chains

Leonard Seabrooke and Duncan Wigan

Abstract

This chapter draws on insights gained from participant observation and elite interviews with activists, policy makers, private sector practitioners and other non-specialist non-governmental organisation professionals to describe the role played by the Tax Justice Network (TJN) in raising the salience of tax issues on the political agenda. In so doing, the chapter specifies the peculiar constellation of actor attributes, organisational forms and organising that can help explain issue adoption, policy influence and accelerated policy innovation in what has until recently been a technical policy domain largely impervious to civil society activism. This aim is advanced by developing frameworks to describe the role of NGO activity in global wealth chains (GWCs) focusing on economic justice issues. We find that, owing to the fast-changing, technically complex and cross-disciplinary nature of the tax policy arena, the effectiveness of larger NGOs may be muted by burdensome bureaucratic procedures. Rather, our analysis of the Tax Justice Network suggests that, in this context, smaller NGOs may pack a bigger punch.

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