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Outsourcing Tariff Evasion: A New Explanation for Entrepot Trade

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  • Raymond Fisman
  • Peter Moustakerski
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

Traditional explanations for indirect trade through an entrepot have focused on savings in transport costs and on the role of specialized agents in processing and distribution. We provide an alternative perspective based on the possibility that entrepots may facilitate tariff evasion. Using data on direct exports to mainland China and indirect exports via Hong Kong SAR, we find that the indirect export rate rises with the Chinese tariff rate, even though there is no legal tax advantage to sending goods via Hong Kong SAR. We undertake a number of extensions to rule out plausible alternative hypotheses based on existing explanations for entrepot trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Raymond Fisman & Peter Moustakerski & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "Outsourcing Tariff Evasion: A New Explanation for Entrepot Trade," NBER Working Papers 12818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12818
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470, Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cyril Chalendard, 2015. "Use of internal information, external information acquisition and customs underreporting," Working Papers halshs-01179445, HAL.
    2. Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "What Accounts for the Rising Sophistication of China's Exports?," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 63-104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Konstantins Benkovskis & Santa Berzina & Liva Zorgenfreija, 2016. "Evaluation of Latvia’s re-exports using firm-level trade data," Baltic Journal of Economics, Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, vol. 16(1), pages 1-20.
    4. Deborah L. Swenson, 2012. "The Influence of Chinese Trade Policy on Automobile Assembly and Parts," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(4), pages 703-730, December.
    5. Lorenzo Rotunno & Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2012. "Chinese Networks and Tariff Evasion," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1772-1794, December.
    6. Lin, Chin-Ho, 2018. "Tariff evasion in machinery production networks: Evidence from East Asia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 115-126.
    7. Huang, Yi & Lin, Chen & Liu, Sibo & Tang, Heiwai, 2019. "Trade Networks and Firm Value: Evidence from the US-China Trade War," CEPR Discussion Papers 14173, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Ferrantino, Michael J. & Liu, Xuepeng & Wang, Zhi, 2012. "Evasion behaviors of exporters and importers: Evidence from the U.S.–China trade data discrepancy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 141-157.
    9. Liu, Xuepeng & Shi, Huimin & Ferrantino, Michael, 2016. "Tax evasion through trade intermediation: Evidence from Chinese exporters," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 518-535.
    10. Chan, Jackie M.L., 2019. "Financial frictions and trade intermediation: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 567-593.
    11. Jackie M.L. Chan, 2015. "Trade Intermediation, Financial Frictions, and the Gains from Trade," Discussion Papers 15-009, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    12. Agarwal, Sumit & Li, Keyang & Qin, Yu & Wu, Jing & Yan, Jubo, 2020. "Tax evasion, capital gains taxes, and the housing market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    13. Martijn J. Burger & Mark J. P. M. Thissen & Frank G. van Oort & Dario Diodato, 2014. "The Magnitude and Distance Decay of Trade in Goods and Services: New Evidence for European Countries," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 231-259, September.
    14. Ahn, JaeBin & Khandelwal, Amit K. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2011. "The role of intermediaries in facilitating trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 73-85, May.
    15. 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.
    16. Andrey Stoyanov, 2012. "Tariff evasion and rules of origin violations under the Canada‐U.S. Free Trade Agreement," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 45(3), pages 879-902, August.
    17. Demir, Banu & Javorcik, Beata, 2020. "Trade policy changes, tax evasion and Benford's law," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    18. Johan, Sofia & Zhang, Minjie, 2016. "Private equity exits in emerging markets," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 133-153.
    19. Javorcik, Beata S. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2009. "Corruption and cross-border investment in emerging markets: Firm-level evidence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 605-624, June.
    20. Kenneth Abante, 2019. "Minimizing Smuggling and Restoring Public Trust in the Philippine Bureau of Customs," CID Working Papers 113a, Center for International Development at Harvard University.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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