Document Type

Prize Paper

Publication Date



This paper seeks to explain the extralegal contractual relations governing Hawala and other related informal financial transfer systems (IFTS). Hawala, and other IFTF’s, have faced a regulatory onslaught in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, as well as competitive pressures from traditional money transfer systems. Despite these competitive pressures, IFTS’s still occupy a major market position in the money transfer market place, in particular amongst Asian and African immigrant communities in the Western world. Two recent academic papers have theorized what governs the extralegal contractual relations of Hawala, but no literature has been developed based on a case study to confirm these theories. This paper seeks to outline what governs the contractual relations of cross-border Hawaladars by interviewing IFTS brokers in the greater Philadelphia area. This Paper will be broken into four parts: Part I will analyze what Hawala is and how it works, Part II will analyze how Hawala works in practice based on a case study of Hawaladars in the Greater Philadelphia area, Part III will analyze why Hawala still exists & Part IV will be a conclusion analyzing the future of Hawala.

Publication Citation

Winner of THE MARK E. LEFEVER PRIZE, to the graduating student for the best paper in the field of law and economics.