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Gotcha! A Profile of Smuggling in International Trade

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  • Helge Berger
  • Volker Nitsch

Abstract

This paper explores official trade data to identify patterns of smuggling in international trade. Our main measure of interest is the difference in matched partner trade statistics, i.e., the extent to which the recorded export value in the source country deviates from the reportedimport value in the destination country. Analyzing 4-digit product level data for the world’s five largest importers for the period from 2002-2006, we find that the reporting gaps are highly correlated with the level of corruption in both partner countries. This finding supports the hypothesis that trade gaps partly represent smuggling activities.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-11/cesifo1_wp2475.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2475.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2475

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Keywords: corruption; illicit; illegal; trade; statistics; tariffs;

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References

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  1. Rozanski, Jerzy & Yeats, Alexander, 1994. "On the (in)accuracy of economic observations: An assessment of trends in the reliability of international trade statistics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 103-130, June.
  2. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2009. "The Smuggling of Art, and the Art of Smuggling: Uncovering the Illicit Trade in Cultural Property and Antiques," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 82-96, July.
  3. Yeats, Alexander J, 1978. "On the Accuracy of Partner Country Trade Statistics," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 40(4), pages 341-61, November.
  4. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
  5. Alan Deardorff & Wolfgang Stolper, 1990. "Effects of smuggling under african conditions: A factual, institutional and analytic discussion," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 116-141, March.
  6. Bhagwati, Jagdish N & Hansen, Bent, 1973. "A Theoretical Analysis of Smuggling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 172-87, May.
  7. David Hummels & Volodymyr Lugovskyy, 2006. "Are Matched Partner Trade Statistics a Usable Measure of Transportation Costs?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 69-86, 02.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Olaf J. de Groot & Anja Shortland, 2010. "Gov-arrrgh-nance: Jolly Rogers and Dodgy Rulers," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1063, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Helmut Herwartz & Henning Weber, 2008. "When, How Fast and by How Much do Trade Costs change in the Euro Area?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-065, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  4. Olaf J. de Groot & Matthew D. Rablen & Anja Shortland, 2011. "Gov-aargh-nance: "Even Criminals Need Law and Order"," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 46, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Lorenzo Rotunno & Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2012. "Chinese Networks and Tariff Evasion," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1772-1794, December.
  6. Nitsch, Volker, 2011. "Trade Mispricing and Illicit Flows," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 54540, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).

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