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Gotcha! A Profile of Smuggling in International Trade

Author

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  • Helge Berger
  • Volker Nitsch

Abstract

This paper explores official trade data to identify patterns of smuggling in international trade. Our main measure of interest is the difference in matched partner trade statistics, i.e., the extent to which the recorded export value in the source country deviates from the reported import value in the destination country. Analyzing 4-digit product level data for the world’s five largest importers for the period from 2002-2006, we find that the reporting gaps are highly correlated with the level of corruption in both partner countries. This finding supports the hypothesis that trade gaps partly represent smuggling activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Helge Berger & Volker Nitsch, 2008. "Gotcha! A Profile of Smuggling in International Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 2475, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2475
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2475.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Rozanski, Jerzy & Yeats, Alexander, 1994. "On the (in)accuracy of economic observations: An assessment of trends in the reliability of international trade statistics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 103-130, June.
    3. Jagdish Bhagwati & Bent Hansen, 1973. "A Theoretical Analysis of Smuggling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(2), pages 172-187.
    4. Alan Deardorff & Wolfgang Stolper, 1990. "Effects of smuggling under african conditions: A factual, institutional and analytic discussion," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 126(1), pages 116-141, March.
    5. Yeats, Alexander J, 1978. "On the Accuracy of Partner Country Trade Statistics," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 40(4), pages 341-361, November.
    6. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
    7. David Hummels & Volodymyr Lugovskyy, 2006. "Are Matched Partner Trade Statistics a Usable Measure of Transportation Costs?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 69-86, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Weber, Henning & Herwartz, Helmut, 2008. "When, how fast and by how much do trade costs change in the euro area?," Discussion Papers 2008/18, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    2. Olaf J. de Groot & Matthew D. Rablen & Anja Shortland, 2011. "Gov-aargh-nance - "even criminals need law and order"," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 11-01, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
    3. Lorenzo Rotunno & Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2012. "Chinese Networks and Tariff Evasion," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1772-1794, December.
    4. Andreas Buehn & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, 2012. "Smuggling around the world: evidence from a structural equation model," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(23), pages 3047-3064, August.
    5. Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2015. "Illegal trade in natural resources: Evidence from missing exports," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 142, pages 152-160.
    6. Rafat MAHMOOD & Eatzaz AHMAD, 2015. "Measurement Of Import Smuggling In Pakistan," Pakistan Journal of Applied Economics, Applied Economics Research Centre, vol. 25(2), pages 135-159.
    7. Olaf J. de Groot & Anja Shortland, 2010. "Gov-arrrgh-nance: Jolly Rogers and Dodgy Rulers," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 39, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza, 2009. "Illegal trade in the Iranian economy: Evidence from a structural model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 489-507, December.
    9. repec:oxf:wpaper:oxcarre-research-paper-139 is not listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    corruption; illicit; illegal; trade; statistics; tariffs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F19 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Other
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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