Work Package 1: Statistical Analysis of Illicit Financial Flows


Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP), Graduate Institute, Geneva;
Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research, (ISSER), Ghana;
National Institute of Economic Research (NIER), Laos

Phase 1 (2017-20)

During Phase 1 (2017-20) we carried out cutting-edge inter-disciplinary research to improve collective knowledge and understanding of IFFs. Specifically, work package 1 (WP1) developed novel empirical methods motivated by regulatory standards for arm’s length pricing to forensically analyse transaction-level commodity trade microdata from Ghana, Laos and Switzerland (Carbonnier and Mehrotra, 2018). This research significantly advances the research frontier for estimating trade-related IFFs, positioning our research project as a solid scientific reference for novel evidence-based policymaking (Carbonnier and Mehrotra, 2019; Nolintha et al, 2019; Ahene-Codjoe et al, 2019).


This research will aim to address research question 1) How much illicit financial flows are there? Researchers will map the economic value chain of commodities to identify critical junctures for IFFs and then triangulate data to study the volume and composition of illicit flows.

Methods/data collection

Mixed methods approach. The main methods of inquiry include commodity trade data-set construction, econometric analysis and triangulation with qualitative interviews in order to assess the magnitude of commodity trade mispricing.

Expected Outcomes

  1. Methodology to ascertain the volume of commodity-trade-related IFFs at the country level,
  2. Estimates of commodity-trade-related IFFs from Laos and Ghana
  3. Peer-reviewed article, working papers and policy briefs for stakeholders in Switzerland, Ghana and Laos. This approach will be further expanded to other commodity exporting and trading countries, including South Africa, Sierra Leone, and the United Kingdom.

Read more about our research