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Does Better Information Curb Customs Fraud?

Author

Listed:
  • Cyril Chalendard
  • Alice Duhaut
  • Ana Margarida Fernandes
  • Aaditya Mattoo
  • Gael Raballand
  • Bob Rijkers

Abstract

This paper examines how providing better information to customs inspectors and monitoring their actions affects tax revenue and fraud detection in Madagascar. First, an instrumental variables strategy is used to show that transaction-specific, third-party valuation advice on a subset of high-risk import declarations increases fraud findings by 21.7 percentage points and tax collection by 5.2 percentage points. Second, a randomized control trial is conducted in which a subset of high-risk declarations is selected to receive detailed risk comments and another subset is explicitly tagged for ex-post monitoring. For declarations not subject to third-party valuation advice, detailed comments increase reporting of fraud by 3.1 percentage points and improve tax yield by 1 percentage point. However, valuation advice and detailed comments have a significantly smaller impact on revenue when potential tax losses and opportunities for graft are large. Monitoring induces inspectors to scan more shipments but does not result in the detection of more fraud or the collection of additional revenue. Better information thus helps curb customs fraud, but its effectiveness appears compromised by corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • Cyril Chalendard & Alice Duhaut & Ana Margarida Fernandes & Aaditya Mattoo & Gael Raballand & Bob Rijkers, 2020. "Does Better Information Curb Customs Fraud?," CESifo Working Paper Series 8371, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8371
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tariff evasion; tax enforcement; third-party information; performance monitoring; risk management; information provision; randomized control trial;
    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
    • 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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