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

  • Raymond Fisman
  • Shang-Jin Wei

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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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. de Sousa, J. & Mayer, T. & Zignago, S., 2011. "Market access in global and regional trade," Working papers 358, Banque de France.
  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. Dean Yang, 2004. "Can Enforcement Backfire? Crime Displacement in the Context of Customs Reform in the Philippines," Working Papers 520, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  4. Prachi Mishra & Arvind Subramanian & Petia Topalova, 2007. "Policies, Enforcement, and Customs Evasion; Evidence From India," IMF Working Papers 07/60, International Monetary Fund.
  5. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/10187 is not listed on IDEAS
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