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Trade protection and tax evasion: Evidence from Kenya, Mauritius, and Nigeria

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  • Antoine Bouët
  • Devesh Roy

Abstract

We examine the effect of trade protection rates on evasion in three African countries Kenya, Mauritius, and Nigeria. In capturing the effect of trade protection on tariff evasion, we use a much improved measure of trade protection (MAcMap-HS6 2001 and 2004). For two of these countries, this dataset allows the novelty of using variation in trade protection across product, time, and trading partners leading to significantly refined estimates of evasion elasticity relative to existing studies on tariff evasion. We find a robust evidence for positive elasticity of evasion with respect to tariffs in Kenya and Nigeria with relatively weaker evidence for Mauritius. Our results match the rankings of countries in institutional quality. Greater responsiveness of evasion to the level of tariffs is established in Nigeria (comparatively weak institutional quality) vis-à-vis Kenya, and in Kenya vis-à-vis Mauritius (comparatively good institutional quality). This pattern is preserved even when focusing on same set of trading partners and same set of imported products for the three countries. This result is robust to controlling for protection on related products (that creates incentives/ opportunities for evasion) and also for degree of differentiation of the product and some other characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine Bouët & Devesh Roy, 2012. "Trade protection and tax evasion: Evidence from Kenya, Mauritius, and Nigeria," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 287-320, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:287-320
    DOI: 10.1080/09638199.2010.484503
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Zouhon-Bi, Simplice G. & Nielsen, Lynge, 2007. "The Economic Community of West African States : fiscal revenue implications of the prospective economic partnership agreement with the European Union," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4266, The World Bank.
    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. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Derek Kellenberg & Arik Levinson, 2016. "Misreporting Trade: Tariff Evasion, Corruption, and Auditing Standards," NBER Working Papers 22593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mitaritonna, Cristina & Traoré, Fousseini, 2017. "Existing data to measure African trade," IFPRI discussion papers 1618, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Cristina Mitaritonna & Sami Bensassi & Joachim Jarreau, 2017. "Regional Integration and Informal Trade in Africa: Evidence from Benin's Borders," Working Papers 2017-21, CEPII research center.
    4. 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.
    5. Sami Bensassi & Joachim Jarreau & Cristina Mitaritonna, 2017. "Trade barriers and informality of trade: evidence from Benin's borders," Working Papers DT/2017/11, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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