Scholar wins top German prize for PhD thesis

  • July 30, 2020
Scholar wins top German prize for PhD thesis

Andrea Binder wins the Körber Foundation's German Dissertation Award for her PhD dissertation on the relationship between offshore finance and state power.

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a prestigious international award for her PhD dissertation on the relationship between offshore finance and state power.

Dr Andrea Binder was named winner of the Körber Foundation’s German Dissertation Award 2020 for social sciences. The prize, one of the most highly endowed for young researchers from Germany, honours excellent PhD research which has a broad relevance for society. The annual competition is held under the auspices of Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble. The award is endowed with EUR25.000.

Andrea’s thesis, The politics of the invisible: offshore finance and state power, was supervised by Professor Helen Thompson and Professor Jason Sharman.

Offshore financial services are used by wealthy individuals and corporations to access credit not available onshore, to minimise tax bills, to avoid government regulations and to obscure legally and illegally made fortunes.

Andrea [2014], who did her PhD in Politics and International Studies, says: “Seen from offshore, the shape of the contemporary international economy appears quite different from the conventional view. Some of its most fundamental elements appear bigger – for instance, the amount of US dollar created offshore – or smaller – for instance, the volume of foreign direct investment – than official statistics suggest. That is, important elements of the offshore economy remain invisible to researchers and the general public alike.

“My thesis employs Geoffry Ingham’s notion of credit-money and compares the (ab)uses of offshore financial services in Britain, Germany, Mexico and Brazil based on a mixed-methods approach, combining banking statistics with elite interviews and historical analyses. It demonstrates that offshore financial services are a central part of the international economy. Across all cases offshore money creation in the Eurodollar markets is more consequential for the power of the state than is offshore tax planning. Yet, the nature of the effect varies from country to country. It depends on the historically grown domestic elite bargain over how to finance the state.”

Andrea will be presented with her award at an event in December 2020.

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