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A Tale of Pork Prices: Evasion and Attenuation of a Japanese Tariff


  • Kazuki Onji


This paper empirically examines the effectiveness of a safeguard tariff in the Japanese market for imported pork parts. The goals are, first, to consider a refinement to the traditional market-based method for evasion detection, and, second, to apply the method in a setting where evasion is suspected to be widespread. Utilising a within-pig variation in tariff burdens and the timing of safeguard invocations, I examine a panel of monthly wholesale prices on narrowly-defined pork productions from 2001 through 2008. The results are consistent with a hypothesis that a widespread evasion nullified the safeguard tariff on pork, and are robust to a range of alternative explanations including the adjustment of profit margins by traders. Safeguard tariffs appear to be a simple mechanism, but behavioural responses can undo the policy intent.

Suggested Citation

  • Kazuki Onji, 2009. "A Tale of Pork Prices: Evasion and Attenuation of a Japanese Tariff," Asia Pacific Economic Papers 382, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:csg:ajrcau:382

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    13. Marie Thursby & Richard Jensen & Jerry Thursby, 1991. "Smuggling, Camouflaging, and Market Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 789-814.
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    15. Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger, 2008. "Measuring Illegal Activity and the Effects of Regulatory Innovation: Tax Evasion and the Dyeing of Untaxed Diesel," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 633-666, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade


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