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

  • Antoine Bou�t
  • Devesh Roy

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-�-vis Kenya, and in Kenya vis-�-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.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development.

Volume (Year): 21 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 287-320

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:287-320
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  1. 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.
  2. Javorcik, Beata S. & Narciso, Gaia, 2007. "Differentiated products and evasion of import tariffs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4123, The World Bank.
  3. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Levin, Jörgen & Widell, Lars, 2007. "Tax Evasion in Kenya and Tanzania:Evidence from Missing Imports," Working Papers 2007:8, Örebro University, School of Business.
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