University of Tasmania
153851 - The big four and corporate tax governance.pdf (187.08 kB)

The Big Four and corporate tax governance: from global dis-harmony to national regulatory incrementalism

Download (187.08 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:17 authored by Elbra, A, Mikler, J, Hannah Murphy-GregoryHannah Murphy-Gregory
The Big Four professional services firms - PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY - promote, sanction, and regularise the behaviour and practices of business and government. This is especially the case in the area of multinational tax avoidance. This large, and growing, sector of the Big Four's business model places them at the centre of both causing and addressing the problem. Their role is not limited to advising MNCs on complex tax structures. They also advise governments and international organisations on regulatory reform of the global tax system. This article examines their role in so doing through an analysis of Australian Senate Inquiry hearings and responses to the OECD reform programme on the digitalisation of the economy. We show that advice provided by the Big Four is not purely technical, but is intended to achieve a global corporate tax system that is either globally dis-harmonised or a matter of national regulatory incrementalism. This is despite their claims of supporting global regulation based on multilateral agreements. Ultimately, we demonstrate that the Big Four use their significant structural power to discursively undermine the ideals of the OECD, the leading international organisation working to reform global taxation.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Global policy






School of Social Sciences


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Lt

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright (2022) The Authors. Global Policy published by Durham University and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License,, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Public services policy advice and analysis; International political economy (excl. international trade)

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania


    Ref. manager