A Half-Century of Resistance to Corporate Disclosure

26 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020

See all articles by Alex Cobham

Alex Cobham

Tax Justice Network

Petr Jansky

Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies

Markus Meinzer

Tax Justice Network

Date Written: November 20, 2018


As the complexity of transnational corporations (TNCs) grew in the post-war period, their effective degree of disclosure diverged from what is standardly expected of single-country firms. Country-by-country reporting is the key proposal to reestablish appropriate TNC disclosure, and ultimately TNC accountability – and as such, has been consistently resisted by many TNCs, professional services firms and some key headquarters countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This paper charts two main waves of pressure for progress. The first, most visible from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, reflects the claims of the New International Economic Order and the rise of the G77 group of countries, while the second saw international civil society take a leading role. The current phase sees these two impulses combine and may finally deliver meaningful progress. The paper addresses both the political underpinnings and the developing technical component to the claims for deeper TNC disclosure, ultimately shaped into the pursuit of an international standard for public, country-by-country reporting – and the resistance to it. The paper also provides illustrative results based on the existing country-by-country reporting data for banks. It concludes with a discussion of the prospects for country-by-country reporting.

Keywords: Corporate accountability, country-by-country reporting, TNC disclosure, Sustainable Development Goals, tax avoidance, tax havens

Suggested Citation

Cobham, Alex and Jansky, Petr and Meinzer, Markus, A Half-Century of Resistance to Corporate Disclosure (November 20, 2018). Transnational Corporations Journal, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3621961

Alex Cobham (Contact Author)

Tax Justice Network ( email )

38 Stanley Avenue
Chesham, Bucks HP5 2JG
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://taxjustice.net

Petr Jansky

Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies ( email )

Opletalova St. 26
Prague, 11000
Czech Republic

HOME PAGE: http://ies.fsv.cuni.cz/en/staff/jansky

Markus Meinzer

Tax Justice Network ( email )

38, Stanley Avenue
Chesham, HP5 2JG
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics