State Sovereignty, Economic Interdependence and U.S. Extraterritoriality: The Demise of Swiss Banking Secrecy and the Re-Embedding of International Finance

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract This article explores the tactics of an emergent extraterritoriality in international finance by examining how the US was unilaterally able to pierce Swiss banking secrecy regulations before Switzerland was forced to make similar concessions at the multilateral level. Complementing power-based approaches that emphasise control over market access, we show that, for most of the conflict starting in early 2008, the key agents of change were the US law enforcement authorities. By relying on legal action against Swiss banks following a large tax evasion scandal, rather than engaging in a direct confrontation with the Swiss government, the US was able to avoid politicisation of the conflict, which would have raised questions of legitimacy. The US law enforcement authorities’ ability to promote institutional change in Switzerland is based on three factors: the structural economic dependence of banks on access to the US market; the corporate liability for legal transgressions of employees; and an adversarial legal system characterised by extensive prosecutorial autonomy. More generally, we show that powerful states have the capacity to re-embed international finance by extending the boundaries of their law enforcement authorities’ jurisdiction extraterritorially.
Authors Emmenegger, Patrick & Eggenberger, Katrin
Journal or Publication Title Journal of international relations and development
Language English
Keywords banking secrecy, economic interdependence, extraterritoriality, market power, sovereignty, tax haven
Subjects political science
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SEPS - Global Democratic Governance
Refereed Yes
Date 2018
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Place of Publication Basingstoke
Volume 21
Number 3
Page Range 798-823
ISSN 1408-6980
ISSN-Digital 1581-1980
Publisher DOI https://doi.org/10.1057/s41268-017-0088-y
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Patrick Emmenegger
Date Deposited 09 Feb 2018 11:57
Last Modified 02 Jul 2019 11:43
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/253544

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Emmenegger, Patrick & Eggenberger, Katrin (2018) State Sovereignty, Economic Interdependence and U.S. Extraterritoriality: The Demise of Swiss Banking Secrecy and the Re-Embedding of International Finance. Journal of international relations and development, 21 (3). 798-823. ISSN 1408-6980

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https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/id/eprint/253544
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