IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/12798.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Forensics, Elasticities and Benford's Law

Author

Listed:
  • Demir, Banu
  • Javorcik, Beata

Abstract

By its very nature, tax evasion is difficult to detect as the parties involved have an incentive to conceal their activities. This paper offers a setting where doing so is possible because of an exogenous shock to the tax rate. It contributes to the literature by proposing two new methods of detecting evasion in the context of border taxes. The first method is based on Benford's law, while the second relies on comparing price and trade cost elasticities of import demand. Both methods produce evidence consistent with an increase in tax evasion after the shock. The paper further shows that evasion induces a bias in the estimation of trade cost elasticity of import demand, leading to miscalculation of gains from trade based on standard welfare formulations. Finally, welfare predictions are derived from a simple Armington trade model that accounts for tax evasion.

Suggested Citation

  • Demir, Banu & Javorcik, Beata, 2018. "Forensics, Elasticities and Benford's Law," CEPR Discussion Papers 12798, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12798
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12798
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 471-500, April.
    3. Tomasz Michalski & Gilles Stoltz, 2013. "Do Countries Falsify Economic Data Strategically? Some Evidence That They Might," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 591-616, May.
    4. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2013. "Trade Elasticity Parameters for a Computable General Equilibrium Model," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, in: Peter B. Dixon & Dale Jorgenson (ed.), Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 1213-1269, Elsevier.
    5. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Egger, Peter & Erhardt, Katharina, 2019. "Heterogeneous Effects of Tariff and Non-tariff Trade-Policy Barriers in Quantitative General Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 13602, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Martin, Julien & Mayneris, Florian & Theophile, Ewane, 2020. "The price of remoteness: Product availability and local cost of living in Ethiopia," CEPR Discussion Papers 14515, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sequeira, Sandra, 2016. "Corruption, trade costs, and gains from tariff liberalization: evidence from Southern Africa," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68286, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Joel CARIOLLE & Cyril CHALENDARD & Anne-Marie GEOURJON & Bertrand LAPORTE, 2017. "Going beyond analysis of internal data to support customs modernization: A case study in Gabon," Working Papers 201723, CERDI.
    3. Joel CARIOLLE & Cyril CHALENDARD & Anne-Marie GEOURJON & Bertrand LAPORTE, 2016. "Décloisonner l’analyse des données pour appuyer la modernisation des douanes : une illustration à partir du Gabon," Working Papers 201618, CERDI.
    4. Céline Carrère & Christopher Grigoriou, 2014. "Can Mirror Data Help To Capture Informal International Trade?," UNCTAD Blue Series Papers 65, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    5. Dominik Boddin & Frank Stähler, 2018. "The Organization of International Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 7378, CESifo.
    6. Sandra Sequeira, 2016. "Corruption, Trade Costs, and Gains from Tariff Liberalization: Evidence from Southern Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3029-3063, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Javorcik, Beata S. & Narciso, Gaia, 2017. "WTO accession and tariff evasion," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 59-71.
    9. Mirco Tonin, 2014. "Reporting import tariffs (and other taxes)," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(1), pages 153-173, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Bob Rijkers & Leila Baghdadi & Gael Raballand, 2017. "Political Connections and Tariff Evasion Evidence from Tunisia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(2), pages 459-482.
    12. Jon Bakija & Ivan Badinski, 2014. "Evidence on the Responsiveness of Export-Related VAT Evasion to VAT Rates in the EU," Department of Economics Working Papers 2014-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    13. Heid, Benedikt & Larch, Mario, 2016. "Gravity with unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 70-85.
    14. Goldberg, Pinelopi & Pavcnik, Nina, 2016. "The Effects of Trade Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 11104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. repec:oxf:wpaper:oxcarre-research-paper-139 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Matthias Helble & Ben Shepherd & John S. Wilson, 2009. "Transparency and Regional Integration in the Asia Pacific," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 479-508, March.
    17. Kubo, Koji & Nu, Nu Lwin, 2010. "Smuggling and import duties in Myanmar," IDE Discussion Papers 258, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    18. Sequeira, Sandra & Djankov, Simeon, 2014. "Corruption and firm behavior: Evidence from African ports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 277-294.
    19. Yousefi, Kowsar & Vesal, Mohammad & Pilvar, Hanifa, 2020. "Import tax evasion and avoidance: Evidence from Iran," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 31-39.
    20. Lorenzo Rotunno & Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2012. "Chinese Networks and Tariff Evasion," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1772-1794, December.
    21. Egger, Peter H. & Larch, Mario, 2012. "Tariff evasion effects in quantitative general equilibrium," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 262-264.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Benford's law; border taxes; tax evasion; trade financing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12798. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.