Who is Making International Tax Policy? International Organizations as Power Players in a High Stakes World
Who makes international tax policy in today’s world? Certainly no single body possesses that power - there is no global tax authority, and states are not capable of achieving all of their international tax policy goals on a unilateral basis. The development of international tax policy is an interactive and dynamic process that involves a wide range of players, most of whom can be characterized as international organizations. Their roles, goals, tools and influence vary by organization and by issue, but their net impact on tax policy is undeniable. If we are to better understand how tax policy is formed, we must examine the role of these organizations. Although the power of international organizations has received significant attention outside the tax field, less attention has been devoted to these mechanisms in tax policy. This article joins a dialogue that seeks to bring the same depth of analysis to the study of international tax policy. Specifically, this article contends that international organizations play different and complex roles in shaping tax policy. First, this article establishes four empirical dimensions along which each relevant organization should be examined. Second, this article moves the analysis to the next level of inquiry by articulating ways to capture the dynamic interactions among these players as they participate in shaping international tax policy. Two case studies provide an initial opportunity to assess those interactions. Finally, the paper offers some preliminary observations about certain types of international organizations and their particular role in tax policy.
Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 33, 2010