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Traders, Cops and Robbers

  • James E. Anderson

Why does illegal trade often flourish without formal enforcement, but sometimes fail? Why do illegal trade-reducing policies often fail? Why do States often appear to tolerate illegal trade? A model of trade with cops and robbers provides answers. `Safety in numbers' is a key element: the equilibrium probability of successful shipments is increasing in trade volume. Even without conventional fixed costs, safety in numbers implies scale economies which can explain the absence or robustness of trade subject to predation. Spilling over between markets, safety in numbers implies that illegal trade can foster legal trade and State revenue.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9572.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9572.

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Date of creation: Mar 2003
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Publication status: published as Anderson, James E. & Bandiera, Oriana, 2006. "Traders, cops and robbers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 197-215, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9572
Note: ITI
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  1. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Anderson, James E. & Marcouiller, S.J. Douglas, 1997. "Trade and Security, I: Anarchy," Working Paper Series 477, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. James E. Anderson & Leslie Young, 2002. "Imperfect Contract Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 8847, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sah, R.K., 1990. "Social Osmosis And Patterns Of Crime: A Dynamic Economic Analysis," Papers 609, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  5. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, S.J., 1997. "Anarchy and Autarky: Endogenous Predation as a Barrier to Trade," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 383, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 Oct 2001.
  6. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  7. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, S.J., 1999. "Insecurity and the Pattern of Trade: An Empirical Investigation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 418, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 03 Aug 2000.
  8. Grossman, Herschel I., 2002. ""Make us a king": anarchy, predation, and the state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 31-46, March.
  9. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
  10. Grossman, Herschel I. & Noh, Suk Jae, 1994. "Proprietary public finance and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 187-204, February.
  11. Neher, Philip A, 1978. "The Pure Theory of the Muggery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 437-45, June.
  12. Marcouiller, Douglas & Young, Leslie, 1995. "The Black Hole of Graft: The Predatory State and the Informal Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 630-46, June.
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