Networks, Norms and National Tax Policy

Wash. U. Global Studies Law Review, 2010

Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1078

34 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2009 Last revised: 22 Feb 2010

Date Written: March 12, 2009


Increasing economic integration inevitably draws states to coordinate their tax policies, yet policymakers are eager to protect their autonomous “tax sovereignty.” Tax cooperation and autonomy are balanced in transnational networks, especially the OECD, where state representatives, experts, and interest groups engage in continuous negotiation to develop nonbinding, or “soft” global tax policy norms. While the merits of these norms have prompted much scholarly analysis, little is understood about the nature and significance of using networks to develop tax policy norms in this manner. This Article demonstrates how and why states use the unique soft governance structure of the OECD to develop global tax policy norms and achieve national tax policy goals, and explores some of the implications of this particular means of balancing the competing goals of international cooperation and national autonomy in a politically, socially, and economically globalized world.

Keywords: tax policy, tax norms, norm diffusion, international law, soft law, power, transnational networks, OECD, harmful tax practices, participation, legitimacy, policymaking, globalization, law and institutions, global governance, expertise, democratic lawmaking, international community of states, consens

JEL Classification: E63, H2, F02, H87, K33, K34, N40, P45, H11, H21, H87, F50, F53, F59, Z13

Suggested Citation

Christians, Allison, Networks, Norms and National Tax Policy (March 12, 2009). Wash. U. Global Studies Law Review, 2010, Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1078, Available at SSRN: or

Allison Christians (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec H3A 1W9

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