Finance, Offshore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Offshore finance is a major component of the international financial system. Contemporary offshore finance developed as capital globalized during the last half of the twentieth century. A series of offshore financial centers (OFCs) have arisen, clustered particularly in the Caribbean, Europe, and the Pacific, serving transnational corporations and the super-rich. By offering themselves as jurisdictions tailored toward providing a less-regulated financial sector with little or no tax for foreign investors, places such as the Cayman Islands have enjoyed relatively high rates of economic growth. However, since the 1990s there has been a broad Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)-led effort to crackdown on OFCs fuelled by concerns over money laundering (including by terrorists or their financiers) and over ‘unfair tax competition’. Perhaps surprisingly, the crackdown has not been very effective. The OFCs continue to thrive, catering to transnational corporations (TNCs) profiting from their ownership of intellectual property and the super-rich. Meanwhile populist outrage at corporations’ offshore strategies to minimize their taxes and at individual tax cheats is motivating political campaigns in OECD countries against the OFCs. Allied with antipoverty and development organizations, the tax justice movement is gaining some momentum in its efforts against offshore finance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Human Geography
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-12
ISBN (Electronic)9780080449104
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Accountancy
  • Accounting
  • Banking
  • Banks
  • Bretton Woods
  • Cayman Islands
  • Insurance
  • Money
  • Money laundering
  • Offshore finance
  • Offshore financial center
  • Onshore finance
  • Super-rich
  • Tax
  • Tax haven
  • Transfer pricing
  • Transnational corporation
  • Unfair tax competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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