This year, Global Financial Integrity and Academics Stand
Against Poverty will
be awarding the seventh annual Amartya Sen Prizes to the two best original essays examining one
particular component of illicit financial flows, the resulting harms and
possible avenues of reform. Entered essays should be about 7,000 to 9,000 words
long. There is a first prize of $5,000 and a second prize of $3,000.
Illicit financial flows are
generally defined as cross-border movements of funds that are illegally earned,
transferred, or used. Examples are funds earned through illegal trafficking in
persons, drugs or weapons; funds illegally transferred through mispriced
exchanges (e.g., among affiliates of a multinational corporation seeking to
shift profits to reduce taxes); funds moved to evade taxes; and funds used for corruption
of or by public or corporate officials. Illicit financial flows are explicitly
recognized as an obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and singled out as a separate target
#4 of SDG 16.
Components of illicit
financial flows can be delimited by sector and geographically. Delimitation by
sector might focus your essay on some specific activity, business or industry –
such as art, real estate, health care, technology, entertainment, shipping, agriculture,
sports, gaming, education, politics, tourism, natural resource extraction, banking
and financial services – or on an even narrower subsector such as the diamond
trade, hunting, insurance or prostitution. Delimitation by geography might further
narrow the essay’s focus to some particular country, province or region.
Your essay should describe
the problematic activity and evaluate the adverse effects of it that
make it problematic. Also, in quantitative terms insofar as this is possible, you
should estimate the magnitude of the relevant
outflows as well as the damage they do to the institutions and to the affected
populations. This might include harm from abuse, exploitation and
impoverishment of individuals, harm through subdued economic activity and reduced
prosperity, and/or harm through diminished tax revenues that depress public
Your essay should also explain
the persistence of the harmful activity in terms of relevant incentives and
enabling conditions and, based on your explanation, propose plausible ways to curtail
the problem. Such reform efforts might be proposed at diverse levels, including
supranational rules, national rules, corporate policies, professional ethics,
individual initiatives, or any combination thereof. The task is to identify who
has the responsibility, the capacity and (potentially) the knowledge and motivation
to change behavior toward effective curtailment.
We welcome authors from diverse
academic disciplines and from outside the academy. Please send your entry by
email attachment on or before 31 August 2020 to Tom Cardamone at SenPrize@gfintegrity.org.
While your email should identify you, your essay should be stripped of
self-identifying references, formatted for blind review.