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Tariff evasion and customs corruption : does pre-shipment inspection help?


  • Olivier Cadot
  • Jose Anson
  • Marcelo Olarreaga


The authors provide a new approach to the evaluation of pre-shipment inspection (PSI) programs as ways of improving tariff-revenue collection and reducing fraud when customs administrations are corrupt. They build a model highlighting the contribution of surveillance firms to the generation of information and describing how incentives for fraud and collusive behavior between importers and customs are affected by the introduction of PSI. The authors show theoretically that the introduction of PSI has an ambiguous effect on the level of customs fraud. Empirically, the econometric results suggest that PSI reduced fraud in the Philippines, it increased it in Argentina, and did not have significant impact in Indonesia.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Cadot & Jose Anson & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2003. "Tariff evasion and customs corruption : does pre-shipment inspection help?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3156, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3156

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    2. Peter Stella, 1993. "Tax Farming: A Radical Solution for Developing Country Tax Problems?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 217-225, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Raymond Fisman & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from "Missing Imports" in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 471-500, April.
    5. Johnson, Noel, 2001. "Committing to civil service reform : the performance of pre-shipment inspection under different institutional regimes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2594, The World Bank.
    6. Gordon H. Hanson & Robert C. Feenstra, 2000. "Aggregation Bias in the Factor Content of Trade: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 155-160, May.
    7. De Wulf, Luc, 1981. "Statistical analysis of under- and overinvoicing of imports," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 303-323, June.
    8. Gatti, Roberta, 1999. "Corruption and trade tariffs, or a case for uniform tariffs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2216, The World Bank.
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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. Céline Carrère & Christopher Grigoriou, 2014. "Can Mirror Data Help To Capture Informal International Trade?," UNCTAD Blue Series Papers 65, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    3. Lorenzo Rotunno & Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2012. "Chinese Networks and Tariff Evasion," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1772-1794, December.
    4. Grégoire ROTA-GRAZIOSI & Anne-Marie GEOURJON & Vianney DEQUIEDT, 2009. "Contrats Incitatifs et Réforme des Douanes dans les PED : une Application des Modèles d’Agence Hiérarchique," Working Papers 200906, CERDI.
    5. Joel CARIOLLE & Cyril CHALENDARD & Anne-Marie GEOURJON & Bertrand LAPORTE, 2016. "Décloisonner l’analyse des données pour appuyer la modernisation des douanes : une illustration à partir du Gabon," Working Papers 201618, CERDI.
    6. Dequiedt, V. & Geourjon, A.-M. & Rota-Graziosi, G., 2012. "Mutual supervision in preshipment inspection programs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 282-291.
    7. Velea, Irina & Cadot, Olivier & Wilson, John S., 2010. "Do private inspection programs affect trade facilitation ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5515, The World Bank.
    8. Vaqar, Ahmed & Ghulam, Samad, 2011. "Trade facilitation for economic corridors in South Asia: the perspective of Pakistan," MPRA Paper 31368, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. 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.
    10. Javorcik, Beata & Narciso, Gaia, 2013. "Accession to the World Trade Organization and Tariff Evasion," CEPR Discussion Papers 9592, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Michael, Bryane & Popov, Maja, 2012. "Do Customs Trade Facilitation Programmes Help Reduce Customs-Related Corruption?," EconStor Preprints 109021, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    12. Ederington,Josh & Ruta,Michele, 2016. "Non-tariff measures and the world trading system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7661, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    Trade Policy; Export Competitiveness; Environmental Economics&Policies; Common Carriers Industry; Transport and Trade Logistics; Export Competitiveness; Trade Policy; Multi Modal Transport; Trade and Regional Integration; Common Carriers Industry;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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