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Refugees and “Missing” Arms Trade


  • Gaia Narciso

    () (Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin)


Millions of people are killed or wounded by small arms each year. The aim of this study is to enhance our understanding of “missing” arms trade across countries. We proceed in two steps. First, we measure the extent of missing arms trade on the basis of official trade statistics. We construct a measure of the gap in arms trade based on the discrepancy between the value of arms exports reported by the exporting country and the value of arms imports recorded by the importing country. Second, we uncover the link between refugee movements and missing arms trade. Refugee flows, by reducing the ability of the receiving country to patrol its borders and its customs, are found to be correlated with arms smuggling across the border into the importing country. A series of robustness checks confirm the above findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaia Narciso, 2011. "Refugees and “Missing” Arms Trade," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp350, IIIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp350

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    international trade; refugees; arms; customs.;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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