Tariffs, enforcement, and customs evasion: Evidence from India
We examine the effect of tariff policies on evasion of customs duties, in the context of the trade reform in India of the 1990s. By exploiting the variation in tariff rates across time and products, we identify a robust positive elasticity of evasion with respect to tariffs. A second contribution of the paper is to provide some evidence on the impact of enforcement. While we cannot identify the direct impact of enforcement on evasion, we can establish the extent to which enforcement-related factors, such as product characteristics that determine the ease of detection of evasion, affect the evasion elasticity. The results render support to the hypothesis that improvements in enforcement can reduce the responsiveness of evasion to tariffs.
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