Work Package 2: Legal and Regulatory Analysis


Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) – University of Bern;
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 2 (WP2) has shed new light and critical insights into the debate on the scope and definition of IFFs (Musselli and Bürgi Bonanomi 2020), in collaboration with work packages 1 and 3 (WP1, WP3). In addition, WP2 developed simplified regulatory approaches and reform options to curb IFFs and address current regulatory flaws in host countries (Musselli and Bürgi Bonanomi 2019; Musselli, 2019; Atupare Atudiwe et al., 2019; Norasingh et al., 2019). Further work is ongoing on key leverage areas for systemic change in relation to IFFs, including corporate due diligence (Musselli and Bürgi Bonanomi, forthcoming 2020; Makafui Baku et al., forthcoming 2020). 


This research will aim to address research questions 2) What are the main incentives and legal/regulatory issues involved in trade-related IFFs? and 4) What can be done? Researchers will engage with key stakeholders at global, regional and national levels to understand the impact of tax, investment and trade laws in preventing IFFs, identify potential gaps in international and national regulations, and propose innovative options to address these gaps.

Methods/data collection

Our legal analysis has used a combination of semi-structured interviews with key informants and in-depth analysis of legal material. The analysis was multi-layered and multi-disciplinary, considering both the domestic and global governance layers as well as relevant institutional, social, political and technological aspects of adopting and implementing laws and regulations. It straddled across multiple regulatory areas, including tax laws, customs laws and company law, assessed in their socio-economic context.  

Expected Outcomes

  1. Peer-reviewed articles, working papers and policy briefs;
  2. At the descriptive level, this research will take stock of existing laws and regulations with regard to trade misinvoicing and transfer mispricing in the sectors under review;
  3. At the analytical level, it will add new insights into the definitional debate on IFFs, the key regulatory issues involved in trade-related IFFs, and the most promising regulatory responses to stem IFFs;
  4. At the transformative level, it will elaborate policy recommendations for host and home countries to curb commodity trade-related IFFs.

Read more about our research: