Gilles Carbonnier


Gilles CarbonnierGilles Carbonnier is professor of development economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (sine 2007). He is also the Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC, since 2018). Prior to that, he was President of the Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action, Director of Studies of the Geneva Graduate Institute, and served on numerous boards including the Responsible Mining Foundation and the European Association of Development Institutes. Gilles Carbonnier has conducted extensive research on the governance of natural resources, commodity trade and sustainable development, as well as on war economies and humanitarian action. His forthcoming book addresses ways to mobilize domestic resources for sustainable development (special issue of International Development Policy, 2024). His latest monograph is entitled Humanitarian Economics. Conflict, Disaster and the Global Aid Market (Oxford University Press & Hurst, 2016).

Papers Published in World Economics:

Trade in the Shadows

Accurate, timely and reliable statistics on international trade in goods and services are of considerable academic and policy relevance. A major source of illicit financial flows (IFFs) out of developing countries accrues from the under-invoicing of commodity exports. Researchers have highlighted the critical importance of reliable trade data to estimate the magnitude of IFFs and the related channels and drivers which erode the tax base of resource-rich low-income countries, and hence their capacity to mobilise domestic resources for development. Yet, data flaws and methodological weaknesses represent obstacles to identify the drivers and magnitude of the phenomenon, limiting the ability of developing countries to effectively curb IFFs. Drawing on six-year interdisciplinary research on commodity trade-related IFFs, this article examines the weaknesses of existing trade data repositories, notably, with regard to data aggregation, quality and consistency as well as missing data. We discuss the scope for improved data generation and transparency required to inform evidence-based policy debates and action. This, together with global taxation reform, can greatly contribute to effectively enhancing domestic resource mobilisation in developing countries.

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