What Are Tax Havens and Why Are They Bad?

21 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2016 Last revised: 14 Dec 2016

See all articles by Conor Clarke

Conor Clarke

Yale University, Law School

Date Written: April 6, 2016


This essay reviews Gabriel Zucman's The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens. Zucman's important new book brings clarity to a confusing subject -- but occasionally does so at the expense of nuance. My review has three goals. First, I summarize and appraise Zucman's central findings, and re-estimate his revenue-loss totals for the United States using tax-rate assumptions that I believe are more realistic. Second, I position Zucman's findings against the backdrop of the wider literatures on tax havens and inequality, and attempt to answer the two questions in this essay's title. Third, I comment on Zucman's call for a global registry covering the ownership of financial securities. I argue that such a proposal must contend with the fact that there is no international legal consensus on what constitutes ownership.

Keywords: Tax, Tax Law, Tax Havens, Inequality

Suggested Citation

Clarke, Conor, What Are Tax Havens and Why Are They Bad? (April 6, 2016). 95 Texas Law Review 59 (2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2759521

Conor Clarke (Contact Author)

Yale University, Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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