Submission Deadline: August 31, 2015
The Yale Global Justice Program, Global Financial Integrity, and Academics Stand Against Poverty invite submissions of original essays on illicit financial flows to the second annual Amartya Sen Prize Competition. Prizes are named in honor of Amartya Sen, whose work has shown how the rigor of economic thinking can be brought to bear on normative and practical questions of great human significance.
Illicit financial flows are international movements of funds that have been illegally earned or are being illegally transferred or utilized. Such flows may involve proceeds of corruption or other crimes – or be associated with efforts to evade corporate or individual taxation. According to the NGO Global Financial Integrity, developing countries are especially harshly affected by illicit financial outflows, losing some $6.6 trillion in the decade ending in 2012 and about $1 trillion annually more recently.
The 2015 Amartya Sen Prize Competition is soliciting original essays of ca. 7,000 to 9,000 words on the intelligent use of incentives toward curtailing corporations’ use of tax evasion and avoidance, abusive transfer pricing and all forms of illicit financial flows. Many have been upset by media reports about how corporations dodge taxes around the world. What can we as consumers and investors do toward curtailing such practices? Consumers can direct purchases away from offending firms. Investors can use the voting rights their shares confer to influence the way corporations manage their affairs, and they can also influence firms by divesting themselves of shares and by shunning certain investments. And people related to large investors (e.g., students at a well-endowed university, participants in a large pension fund) can try to nudge that investor toward exerting more and better influence on corporations.
Efforts by consumers and investors to improve corporate behavior will be much more effective if they are concerted, that is, if consumers and investors reward and penalize the same sorts of behaviors. Such concerted action presupposes objective and transparent standards for assessing corporate behavior as the basis on which consumers and investors can then reward and penalize. Essays will be judged by their contribution toward achieving such effective concerted action. Essays might be predominantly normative, working out, perhaps, what the appropriate standards for assessing corporate behavior should be; they might be predominantly empirical, examining for example how similar efforts have fared in the past; or they might be predominantly practical, experimentally exploring what sorts of incentives are most likely to have the desired effects. Of course, essays might combine normative, empirical and practical elements.
The best entries are to be presented at an international conference at Yale University in the fall of 2015 and are subsequently to be published as a special issue of a prominent journal. (Last year’s winners are forthcoming in the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.) In addition, at least two of the winning essays will be graced with a monetary award: a first prize of $5,000 and a second prize of $3,000. Professor Sen joined us for last year’s award ceremony and hopes to do so again this year.
Entries should be e-mailed to Chelsea Papa at firstname.lastname@example.org under the subject line “Amartya Sen Prize Contest Submission” and must reach her by August 31, 2015. We ask that entries be anonymized to facilitate blind refereeing. Quality judgments will be made by an expert jury, whose decisions are final.