Alex Cobham’s Off to the Tax Justice Network

November 26, 2014

It is with bitter-sweet excitement that we share our news that Alex Cobham is taking up a new post from the beginning of next year as Director of Research at the Tax Justice Network.

This feels like a coming of age. Since we began CGD in Europe in 2011, we’ve focused on three main priorities: development impact bonds, Europe Beyond Aid and Alex’s area: illicit financial flows (IFF). In our work on illicit flows, we’ve been lucky enough to have had a little input to the 2013 G8 process; to have written the zero draft for the Mbeki panel on IFF out of Africa which will report in January 2015; the background paper for the 2014 Tana High Level Forum on Peace and Security in Africa; and a study published by the Copenhagen Consensus on the potential costs and benefits of our proposed new IFF targets for post-2015.  Along the way, Alex Cobham and Andy Sumner proposed a new inequality measure, the Palma; and their current work combines these areas, looking at the possibility of adjusting global income distributions for undeclared (illicit) incomes. And the first major academic paper on the Financial Secrecy Index is forthcoming.

Now Alex is off to take the research and policy agenda forward with the Tax Justice Network, who began, a little over ten years ago, to produce the dangerous ideas that have risen from nowhere to the top of the G8, G20 and OECD agenda; and CGD is bringing together a new team to take the work forward here, with Vijaya Ramachandran and Matt Collin in London, and Washington visiting fellow Peter Reuter.

We’re looking forward to continuing to work together, confident that the net effect will be an expansion of policy-focused research into this important set of issues. And we are seriously considering getting a fußball machine for our new office in the hope that this will entice Alex to fulfil his promise to be a regular visitor.


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