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Corruption, trade costs, and gains from tariff liberalization: evidence from Southern Africa

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  • Sequeira, Sandra

Abstract

This paper exploits quasi-experimental variation in tariffs in southern Africa to estimate trade elasticities. Traded quantities respond only weakly to a 30 percent reduction in the average nominal tariff rate. Trade flow data combined with primary data on firm behavior and bribe payments suggest that corruption is a potential explanation for the observed low elasticities. In contexts of pervasive corruption, even small bribes can significantly reduce tariffs, making tariff liberalization schemes less likely to affect the extensive and the intensive margins of firms' import behavior. The tariff liberalization scheme is, however, still associated with improved incentives to accurately report quantities of imported goods, and with a significant reduction in bribe transfers from importers to public officials.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:68286
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy

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