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Chinese Networks and Tariff Evasion

  • Lorenzo Rotunno
  • Pierre-Louis Vézina

In this paper we combine the tariff evasion analysis of Fisman and Wei (2004) with Rauch and Trindade’s (2002) study of Chinese trade networks. Chinese networks are known to act as trade catalysts by enforcing contracts and providing market information. As tariff evasion occurs outside the law, market information is scant and formal institutions inexistent, rendering networks the more important. We find robust evidence that Chinese networks, proxied by ethnic Chinese migrant populations, increase tariff evasion, i.e. the tariff semi-elasticity of Chinese missing imports. We suggest the effects takes place through matching of illicit-minded traders, identification of corrupt customs agents and enforcement of informal contracts.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The World Economy.

Volume (Year): 35 (2012)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 1772-1794

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:35:y:2012:i:12:p:1772-1794
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  1. Olivier Cadot & Jose Anson & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2003. "Tariff evasion and customs corruption : does pre-shipment inspection help?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3156, The World Bank.
  2. Javorcik, Beata S. & Narciso, Gaia, 2007. "Differentiated products and evasion of import tariffs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4123, The World Bank.
  3. Ahn, JaeBin & Khandelwal, Amit K. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2011. "The role of intermediaries in facilitating trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-85, May.
  4. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2001. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China," NBER Working Papers 8551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "The Smuggling of Art, and the Art of Smuggling: Uncovering the Illicit Trade in Cultural Property and Antiques," NBER Working Papers 13446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  7. Helge Berger & Volker Nitsch, 2008. "Gotcha! A Profile of Smuggling in International Trade," DEGIT Conference Papers c013_026, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  8. Raymond Fisman & Peter Moustakerski & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "Outsourcing Tariff Evasion: A New Explanation for Entrepot Trade," NBER Working Papers 12818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470 Elsevier.
  10. 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.
  11. Sébastien Jean & Cristina Mitaritonna, 2010. "Determinants and Pervasiveness of the Evasion of Customs Duties," Working Papers 2010-26, CEPII research center.
  12. James A. Dunlevy, 2006. "The Influence of Corruption and Language on the Protrade Effect of Immigrants: Evidence from the American States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 182-186, February.
  13. Levin, Jörgen & Widell, Lars, 2007. "Tax Evasion in Kenya and Tanzania:Evidence from Missing Imports," Working Papers 2007:8, Örebro University, School of Business.
  14. Douglas Marcouiller, S.J., 2000. "Hijacking, Hold-Up, and International Trade," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 477, Boston College Department of Economics.
  15. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 1999. "Ethnic Chinese Networks in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Mishra, Prachi & Subramanian, Arvind & Topalova, Petia, 2008. "Tariffs, enforcement, and customs evasion: Evidence from India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1907-1925, October.
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