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

  • Kazuki Onji
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    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.

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    Paper provided by Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series Asia Pacific Economic Papers with number 382.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:csg:ajrcau:382
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    1. Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Javorcik, Beata & Narciso, Gaia, 2008. "Differentiated Products and Evasion of Import Tariffs," CEPR Discussion Papers 6804, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    6. Dean Yang, 2004. "Can Enforcement Backfire? Crime Displacement in the Context of Customs Reform in the Philippines," Working Papers 520, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
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    8. Besley, Timothy J. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1999. "Sales Taxes and Prices: An Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 157-78, June.
    9. 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, 02.
    10. Bhagwati, Jagdish N & Hansen, Bent, 1973. "A Theoretical Analysis of Smuggling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 172-87, May.
    11. Benjamin H. Liebman, 2006. "Safeguards, China, and the Price of Steel," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 142(2), pages 354-373, July.
    12. Mishra, Prachi & Subramanian, Arvind & Topalova, Petia, 2008. "Tariffs, enforcement, and customs evasion: Evidence from India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1907-1925, October.
    13. Pitt, Mark M., 1981. "Smuggling and price disparity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 447-458, November.
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    15. Mary E. Lovely, 1994. "Crossing the Border: Does Commodity Tax Evasion Reduce Welfare and Can Enforcement Improve It?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 157-74, February.
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