Researchers: Jonas Hjort with Anders Jensen and Golvine de Rochambeau

Sub-Saharan African countries continue to rely on customs as a major source of tax revenue. Customs authorities in developing countries are characterized by limited capacity to combat evasion. In the setting of Liberian customs, this project will leverage a unique combination of administrative data sources and quasi-experimental variation to study the “anatomy” of evasion. The starting point for the project is that the data allows the researchers to compare what a taxpayer is reported to import both in the customs administrative database (as reported by the taxpayer and approved by the customs agent) and in a third-party database maintained by a private and independent contractor. Combined with information in the data on the individuals involved in a given import process and other data sources, this will allow the researchers to study import evasion along three dimensions: how it takes place; the type of firms engaging in import evasion; and the consequences for both firms and the government.