Share this

Global Shell Games: Experiments in Transnational Relations, Crime, and Terrorism, Michael G. Findley, Daniel L. Nielson and J.C. Sharman

Reviewed by H. Richard Friman



Scholars and policymakers often describe the illicit global economy and efforts to control it as the search for needles in haystacks or drops in an ocean, with successes bedeviled by balloon and Whac-A-Mole effects. The authors of Global Shell Games introduce and unpack a new metaphor and, through an innovative global field experiment, demonstrate the importance of nonstate actors in implementing—and, more importantly, failing to implement—the compliance obligations agreed to by states.

The book focuses on the “corporate service providers” that “establish, sell and maintain” shell companies (p. 38). Regulatory efforts at transparency lie at the heart of international efforts against money laundering, terrorist financ­ing, and corruption. However, focusing on the state as the “locus of compli­ance” with “international financial transparency standards” misses the central role of service providers (pp. 2–3). The authors reach out to service providers to assess the “availability of anonymous shell corporations globally” and, in turn, the extent to which state parties to international control efforts have been able to effectively “encourage compliance” with international standards (pp. xiii, 7). Despite such standards, the book reveals that there is no shortage

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

North Korea and the West

The Debate over North Korea


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS