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Transnational expertise and the expansion of the international tax regime: imposing ‘acceptable’ standards

Hearson, Martin (2018) Transnational expertise and the expansion of the international tax regime: imposing ‘acceptable’ standards. Review of International Political Economy, 25 (5). pp. 647-671. ISSN 0969-2290

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09692290.2018.1486726


Global economic governance outcomes in areas such as corporate taxation may be influenced by transnational policy communities acting at national and transnational levels. Yet, while transnational tax policy processes are increasingly analysed through the politics of expertise, national preferences have usually been derived from domestic interest group preferences. We know little about how technical expertise interacts with interest group politics at national level, an important deficit given the sovereignty-preserving, decentralised way in which transnational tax norms become hard law. This article examines the drivers of expansion of the UK’s bilateral tax treaty network in the 1970s, which cannot be explained solely through monolithic interest group politics. Evidence from the British national archives demonstrates how tax experts in the civil service and the private sector, members of a transnational policy community, used tax treaties to impose OECD standards for taxing British firms on host countries, at times overruling the preferences of other political, bureaucratic and business actors. Expertise politics and business power may shape the development of norms and focal points within a transnational policy community, but it is often their interaction at domestic level that determines the implementation of transnational norms as hard law.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Informa UK
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2018 09:05
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:27

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