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The Bankers' Blacklist: Unofficial Market Enforcement and the Global Fight Against Illicit Financing

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A book talk with Julia Morse, Assistant Professor of Political Science, UC Santa Barbara

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In The Banker's Blacklist, Julia C. Morse demonstrates how the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has enlisted global banks in the effort to keep "bad money" out of the financial system, in the process drastically altering the domestic policy landscape and transforming banking worldwide.

Trillions of dollars flow across borders through the banking system every day. While bank-to-bank transfers facilitate trade and investment, they also provide opportunities for criminals and terrorists to move money around the globe. To address this vulnerability, large economies work together through an international standard-setting body, the FATF, to shift laws and regulations on combating illicit financial flows. Morse examines how this international organization has achieved such impact, arguing that it relies on the power of unofficial market enforcement—a process whereby market actors punish countries that fail to meet international standards. The FATF produces a public noncomplier list, which banks around the world use to shift resources and services away from listed countries. As banks restrict cross-border lending, the domestic banking sector in listed countries advocates strongly for new laws and regulations, ultimately leading to deep and significant compliance improvements.

The Bankers' Blacklist offers lessons about the peril and power of globalized finance, revealing new insights into how some of today's most pressing international cooperation challenges might be addressed.



Order The Bankers' Blacklist: Unofficial Market Enforcement and the Global Fight Against Illicit Financing from Cornell University Press.



Julia C. Morse is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research examines international organizations and global governance, with particular attention to issues of monitoring, compliance, and market-driven enforcement. Her book The Bankers' Blacklist: Unofficial Market Enforcement and the Global Fight against Illicit Financing (Cornell University Press, 2022) examines the multilateral effort to keep terrorists and criminals out of the financial system. Her research has been published in International Organization, The Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, and The Review of International Organizations. She holds a PhD and MPA from Princeton University, and an AB from Duke University. Prior to academia, she worked as an intelligence analyst for the FBI and as a Presidential Management Fellow for the State Department.



Leslie Johns is a professor of political science and law at UCLA. She is also Associate Director of the Burkle Center for International Relations.

Her research focuses on international law, organizations, and political economy.

In 2022, Cambridge University Press published her newest book, Politics and International Law: Making, Breaking, and Upholding Global Rules. You can access related news stories on the book's Twitter account: @PoliticsIntlLaw

Her work appears in the American Political Science Review, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Journal of Politics. Her first book–Strengthening International Courts: The Hidden Costs of Legalization–was published in 2015 by the University of Michigan Press. She received the Michael Wallerstein Award for political economy in 2017.

She is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a former research fellow at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University (2012-2013 and 2021-2022).