Global Financial Integrity

 

Illicit Financial Flows

Fifth Annual Amartya Sen Essay Prize 2018

This year, Global Financial Integrity and Academics Stand Against Poverty will be awarding the fifth annual Amartya Sen Prizes to the two best original essays on assessing the human impact of illicit financial flows out of Africa....

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GFI Database Helps Countries Boost Domestic Resource Mobilization

Today, GFI is pleased to announce the launch of GFTrade, a proprietary trade risk assessment application that enables customs officials to determine if goods are priced outside typical ranges for comparable products. A cloud-based system developed over the past year, GFTrade provides officials with real-time price analyses for goods in the port using price ranges for the same product based on global trade information. This information can help to determine if further investigation into potential misinvoicing is warranted, and it has the potential to substantially increase domestic revenue mobilization.

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Magnitudes versus Methodologies?

Global Financial Integrity is pleased to note growing interest in the estimation of illicit financial flows and their effect on emerging market and developing countries. We are writing to offer a series of thoughts surrounding the reality of this concern and its political significance.

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Don’t Take a Page out of Their Book: How Illicit Financial Flows Reduce Funds for Youth Education in Malawi

A recent Global Financial Integrity study concluded that measurable illicit financial outflows topped the $1 trillion mark in 2013. The inclusion of illicit financial flows (IFFs) in the Sustainable Development Goals was an affirmation of the detrimental impact these flows have on the development of low income countries. Amongst the most keenly affected are children, who lose out on quality education due to insufficient government funding. I was able to witness just this, when I spent the 2013 academic year at a village school just outside the city of Zomba, Malawi, a country that GFI estimates loses on average US$650 million per year in illicit outflows.

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Illicit Flows and Funding the SDG’s

In adopting the Sustainable Development Goals this past September, UN member states realized two extraordinary achievements. First, the document itself—with 17 goals, 169 targets and 200+ (yet to be finalized) indicators—is a testament to global ambition, a 15-year roadmap toward what is hoped will be unprecedented progress in poverty alleviation. Second, the global community agreed to “substantially reduce illicit financial flows,” which reached $1.1 trillion two years earlier according to a recent GFI study.

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The Adverse Economic Consequences of Capital Flight and Illicit Flows from Developing Countries

Several recent studies have indicated that capital flight (defined as outflows of licit and illicit capital from developing countries) has serious consequences for economic performance and well-being. For example, a 2012 IMF study based on a panel regression of 103 developing countries over 2001-07, found that country-specific factors such as institutional quality and domestic credit markets have little impact on a country’s ability to translate capital inflows into domestic investment.

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The Methodology behind Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013

This reflects a refinement in how we calculated our estimates for 37 countries, including major emerging economies like Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey. These countries join 19 others for which we were able to use more detailed data to capture how much money flowed out illicitly. As a result, our estimate for 2013 was a total outflow of a staggering US$1.1 trillion—and the world actually crossed this trillion mark in 2011.

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Seeking Submissions for Work on Illicit Flows for Amartya Sen Prize Contest

Academics Stand Against Poverty, the Yale Global Justice Program, and Global Financial Integrity invite submissions of original essays of ca. 7,000 to 9,000 words on the intelligent use of incentives toward curtailing corporations’ use of tax evasion and avoidance, abusive transfer pricing and all forms of illicit financial flows. All prizes are named in honor of Amartya Sen, whose work has shown how the rigor of economic thinking can be brought to bear on normative and practical questions of great human significance. For more details, please see the contest web page.

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