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The Smuggling of Art, and the Art of Smuggling: Uncovering the Illicit Trade in Cultural Property and Antiques

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  • Raymond Fisman
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

We empirically analyze the illicit trade in cultural property and antiques, taking advantage of different reporting incentives between source and destination countries. We generate a measure of illicit trafficking in these goods by comparing imports recorded in United States' customs data and the (purportedly identical) trade recorded by customs authorities in exporting countries. This reporting gap is highly correlated with corruption levels of exporting countries. This correlation is stronger for artifact-rich countries. As a placebo test, we do not observe any such pattern for US imports of toys. We report similar results for four other Western country markets. (JEL F14, K42, Z11, Z13)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.1.3.82
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 82-96

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:3:p:82-96

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.3.82
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References

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  1. De Sousa, Jose & Mayer, Thierry & Zignago, Soledad, 2011. "Market access in global and regional trade," MPRA Paper 35602, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
  3. Prachi Mishra & Arvind Subramanian & Petia Topalova, 2007. "Policies, Enforcement, and Customs Evasion: Evidence from India," IMF Working Papers 07/60, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Dean Yang, 2008. "Can Enforcement Backfire? Crime Displacement in the Context of Customs Reform in the Philippines," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 1-14, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert C. Feenstra & Shang-Jin Wei, 2009. "Introduction to “China’s Growing Role in World Trade”," NBER Working Papers 14716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ferrantino, Michael J. & Liu, Xuepeng & Wang, Zhi, 2012. "Evasion behaviors of exporters and importers: Evidence from the U.S.–China trade data discrepancy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 141-157.
  3. de Groot, Olaf J. & Rablen, Matthew D. & Shortland, Anja, 2011. "Gov-Aargh-Nance – “Even Criminals Need Law And Order”," NEPS Working Papers 7/2011, Network of European Peace Scientists.
  4. Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza, 2009. "Illegal trade in the Iranian economy: Evidence from a structural model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 489-507, December.
  5. Berger, Helge & Nitsch, Volker, 2008. "Gotcha!: a profile of smuggling in international trade," Discussion Papers 2008/6, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  6. Luca De Benedictis & Silvia Nenci & Gianluca Santoni & Lucia Tajoli & Claudio Vicarelli, 2013. "Network Analysis of World Trade using the BACI-CEPII dataset," Working Papers 2013-24, CEPII research center.
  7. Jiro Honda, 2008. "Do IMF Programs Improve Economic Governance?," IMF Working Papers 08/114, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Anja Shortland & Sarah Percy, 2012. "Counter-Piracy in Somalia: Help or Hindrance?," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 12-03, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.

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