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The expansion of the bilateral tax treaty network in the 1990s: The OECD’s role in international tax coordination


This paper examines the role of the OECD in international tax coordination, addressing particularly the drastic increase in the number of bilateral tax treaties signed by non-OECD member countries in the 1990s. The paper’s argument is based on a detailed study of the OECD’s activities with regard to tax treaties and non-OECD member countries in the 1990s. The analysis is conducted through a political science theoretical framework according to which the framing of a policy idea and diffusion mechanisms are central in explaining the adoption of a policy in diverse national settings.

The paper demonstrates that the OECD created the necessary conditions for the spread of bilateral tax treaties. The organization strategically promoted tax treaties to non-OECD member countries through various means such as conferences, workshops, seminars, training, and in-country assistance. Furthermore, the organization created and maintained a synergy among a policy (tax treaty), the market economy paradigm and problems of double taxation, uncertainty and lack of information. Also, the organization confined the discussions on tax treaties to technical considerations.

Author profile

Lyne Latulippe
Lyne is Professor, Department of Accounting, School of Management, UQAM. - Current at 07 January 2013


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