How Nations Share

55 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2011 Last revised: 24 Apr 2011

Date Written: April 19, 2011


Every nation has an interest in sharing the gains they help create by participating in globalization. If governments fail to claim an adequate share of these gains, they will be forced to look ever more intensely to personal taxes on their own already-burdened citizens. Yet because of the structure of law and the mechanisms of legal decision-making in this area, it is all but impossible to observe how, and how much, governments are in fact claiming. This article shows that to date, excessive protection of taxpayer confidentiality has led to obscurity and minimization of hard law and a network of abstraction through soft law as its faulty and inadequate replacement. It argues that this paradigm serves the political goals of special interest groups at a high social cost. It concludes that at a time when national economic and political fortunes are experiencing high stress, uncertainty and volatility, we need much better information about how international tax law develops and works in practice.

Keywords: international law, diplomacy, dispute resolution, tax treaties, competent authority, tax policy, profit allocation, transfer pricing, soft law, hard law, global governance

JEL Classification: E63, H2, F02, H87, K33, K34, K41, N40, P45, H10, H20, H11, H21, H26, H87, F00, F20, F23, F50, F51, F

Suggested Citation

Christians, Allison, How Nations Share (April 19, 2011). Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 87, 2011, Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1159, 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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