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The Economics of Agricultural and Wildlife Smuggling

  • Ferrier, Peyton Michael

The United States bans imports of certain agricultural and wildlife goods that can carry pathogens or diseases or whose harvest can threaten wildlife stocks or endanger species. Despite these bans, contraband is regularly uncovered in inspections of cargo containers and in domestic markets. This study characterizes the economic factors affecting agricultural and wildlife smuggling by drawing on inspection and interdiction data from USDA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and existing economic literature. Findings reveal that agricultural and wildlife smuggling primarily include luxury goods, ethnic foods, and specialty goods, such as traditional medicines. Incidents of detected smuggling are disproportionately higher for agricultural goods originating in China and for wildlife goods originating in Mexico. Fragmentary data show that approximately 1 percent of all commercial wildlife shipments to the United States and 0.40 percent of all U.S. wildlife imports by value are refused entry and suspected of being smuggled.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/55951
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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 55951.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:55951
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  1. 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.
  2. Ferrier, Peyton Michael, 2008. "Illicit Agricultural Trade," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 37(2), October.
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  7. Feinstein, Jonathan S, 1999. "Approaches for Estimating Noncompliance: Examples from Federal Taxation in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F360-69, June.
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  9. Heltberg, Rasmus, 2001. "Impact of the ivory trade ban on poaching incentives: a numerical example," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 189-195, February.
  10. Kemp, Murray C., 1976. "Smuggling and optimal commercial policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 381-384.
  11. Kate Ivanova, 2007. "Corruption, illegal trade and compliance with the Montreal Protocol," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(4), pages 475-496, December.
  12. G. Cornelis van Kooten, 2006. "A Dynamic Bioeconomic Model of Ivory Trade: Details and Extended Results," Working Papers 2006-03, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
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