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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.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Lorenzo Rotunno & Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2012. "Chinese Networks and Tariff Evasion," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1772-1794, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:35:y:2012:i:12:p:1772-1794 DOI: j.1467-9701.2012.01452.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 471-500, April.
    3. Levin, Jörgen & Widell, Lars M., 2014. "Tax evasion in Kenya and Tanzania: Evidence from missing imports," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 151-162.
    4. Douglas Marcouiller, S.J., 2000. "Hijacking, Hold-Up, and International Trade," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 477, Boston College Department of Economics.
    5. Raymond Fisman & Peter Moustakerski & Shang-Jin Wei, 2008. "Outsourcing Tariff Evasion: A New Explanation for Entrepôt Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 587-592, August.
    6. Javorcik, Beata S. & Narciso, Gaia, 2008. "Differentiated products and evasion of import tariffs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 208-222, December.
    7. 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 525-548, June.
    8. 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.
    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. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Anson Jose & Cadot Olivier & Olarreaga Marcelo, 2006. "Tariff Evasion and Customs Corruption: Does Pre-Shipment Inspection Help?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, December.
    14. 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.
    15. Sébastien Jean & Cristina Mitaritonna, 2010. "Determinants and Pervasiveness of the Evasion of Customs Duties," Working Papers 2010-26, CEPII research center.
    16. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2002. "Ethnic Chinese Networks In International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 116-130, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cyril Chalendard, 2015. "Use of internal information, external information acquisition and customs underreporting," Working Papers halshs-01179445, HAL.
    2. Javorcik, Beata S. & Narciso, Gaia, 2017. "WTO accession and tariff evasion," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 59-71.
    3. De Benedictis Luca & Nenci Silvia & Santoni Gianluca & Tajoli Lucia & Vicarelli Claudio, 2014. "Network Analysis of World Trade using the BACI-CEPII Dataset," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3-4), pages 1-57, October.
    4. Christopher R. Parsons & L. Alan Winters, 2014. "International migration, trade and aid: a survey," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 4, pages 65-112 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. 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.
    6. Temesgen Worku & Juan P. Mendoza & Jacco L. Wielhouwer, 2016. "Tariff evasion in sub-Saharan Africa: the influence of corruption in importing and exporting countries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 741-761, August.
    7. Javorcik, Beata & Narciso, Gaia, 2013. "Accession to the World Trade Organization and Tariff Evasion," CEPR Discussion Papers 9592, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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