IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Trade protection and tax evasion: evidence from Kenya, Mauritius and Nigeria


  • Antoine BOUËT
  • Devesh ROY


We examine the effect of trade protection rates on evasion in three African countries Kenya, Mauritius and Nigeria. In capturing the effect of trade protection on tariff evasion, we use a much improved measure of trade protection from MacMAP 2001 and 2004. For two of these countries, the MacMAP dataset allows the novelty of using variation in trade protection across product, time and trading partners leading to significantly refined estimates of evasion elasticity relative to existing studies on tariff evasion. We find a robust evidence for positive elasticity of evasion with respect to tariffs in Kenya and Nigeria with relatively weaker evidence for Mauritius. Our results match the rankings of countries in institutional quality (in terms of the Corruption Perception Index). Greater responsiveness of evasion to the level of tariffs is established in Nigeria (comparatively weak institutional quality) vis-à-vis Kenya, and in Kenya vis-à-vis Mauritius (comparatively good institutional quality). This pattern is preserved even when focusing on same set of trading partners and same set of imported products for the three countries. This result is robust to controlling for protection on related products (that creates incentives/ opportunities for evasion) and also for degree of differentiation of the product and some other characteristics that could determine the ease of detection of evasion).

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine BOUËT & Devesh ROY, 2009. "Trade protection and tax evasion: evidence from Kenya, Mauritius and Nigeria," Working Papers 1, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Jun 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:tac:wpaper:1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Javorcik, Beata S. & Narciso, Gaia, 2008. "Differentiated products and evasion of import tariffs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 208-222, December.
    2. Zouhon-Bi, Simplice G. & Nielsen, Lynge, 2007. "The Economic Community of West African States : fiscal revenue implications of the prospective economic partnership agreement with the European Union," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4266, The World Bank.
    3. Levin, Jörgen & Widell, Lars M., 2014. "Tax evasion in Kenya and Tanzania: Evidence from missing imports," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 151-162.
    4. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Derek Kellenberg & Arik Levinson, 2019. "Misreporting trade: Tariff evasion, corruption, and auditing standards," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(1), pages 106-129, February.
    2. Yousefi, Kowsar & Vesal, Mohammad & Pilvar, Hanifa, 2020. "Import tax evasion and avoidance: Evidence from Iran," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 31-39.
    3. Mitaritonna, Cristina & Traoré, Fousseini, 2017. "Existing data to measure African trade," IFPRI discussion papers 1618, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Cristina Mitaritonna & Sami Bensassi & Joachim Jarreau, 2017. "Regional Integration and Informal Trade in Africa: Evidence from Benin's Borders," Working Papers 2017-21, CEPII research center.
    5. Sébastien Jean & Cristina Mitaritonna & Antoine Vatan, 2018. "Institutions and Customs Duty Evasion," Working Papers 2018-24, CEPII research center.
    6. Levin, Jörgen & Widell, Lars M., 2014. "Tax evasion in Kenya and Tanzania: Evidence from missing imports," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 151-162.
    7. Sami Bensassi & Joachim Jarreau & Cristina Mitaritonna, 2017. "Trade barriers and informality of trade: evidence from Benin's borders," Working Papers DT/2017/11, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    8. Temesgen Worku & Juan P. Mendoza & Jacco L. Wielhouwer, 2016. "Tariff evasion in sub-Saharan Africa: the influence of corruption in importing and exporting countries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 741-761, August.
    9. Jade Siu, 2020. "Formalising informal cross-border trade: Evidence from One-Stop-Border-Posts in Uganda," Discussion Papers 20-08, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.

    More about this item


    Evasion; Tariffs; Enforcement;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tac:wpaper:1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anne Perrin). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.