High rates of tax evasion are not necessarily a consequence of high tax rates. In an NBER working paper, Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen, and Gabriel Zucman provide estimates of countries’ wealth holdings in “tax havens.” Based on BIS statistics the authors find that:
- Wealth on the order of 10% of global GDP is held offshore.
- In Scandinavia, the number is much smaller.
- In continental Europe, it equals roughly 15%.
- In some Gulf and Latin American countries, almost 60%.
- In Russia, the richest citizens hold the majority of their wealth abroad.
In an Independent Review of BIS Research, Franklin Allen, Charles Bean and José De Gregorio conclude that
… BIS research clearly ‘punches above its weight’ compared to its central bank peers. Finally, the relative performance of the BIS has clearly improved over the past five years, a tribute to the influence of the previous (Steve Cecchetti) and current (Claudio Borio and Hyun Shin) leadership …
They recommend, among other points:
The research programme should have a more clearly defined long-term focus, be less driven
by short-term needs, and seek to be more holistic in approach.
The internal culture should be more open to challenge and research should avoid focussing
on generating results to support the ‘house view’.