This year, Global Financial Integrity, Academics Stand Against Poverty and Yale’s Global Justice Program will be awarding the Tenth 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. Illicit financial flows are explicitly recognized as an obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and are singled out as target #4 of SDG 16.
They are defined as cross-border movements of funds that are illegally earned, transferred, or used – such as funds earned through illegal trafficking in persons, drugs, or weapons; funds illegally transferred through mispriced exchanges (e.g., among affiliates of a multinational firm seeking to shift profits to reduce taxes); goods misinvoiced or funds moved in order to evade taxes; and funds used for corruption of or by public or corporate officials.
Components of illicit financial flows can be delimited by sector or 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, weapons, 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 region, country, or province.
Your essay should describe the problematic activity and evaluate the adverse effects that make it problematic. You should estimate, in quantitative terms if possible, the magnitude of the relevant outflows as well as the damage they do to affected institutions and 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 spending.
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 and regimes, 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. Special consideration will be given to papers that provide a detailed description of how change may come about in a particular geographical or sectoral context.
We welcome authors from diverse academic disciplines and from outside the academy. Please send your entry by email attachment on or before 31 August 2023 to Tom Cardamone at SenPrize@gfintegrity.org. While your message should identify you, your essay should be stripped of self-identifying references, and formatted for blind review.