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Working Paper

Political Connections and Tariff Evasion : Evidence from Tunisia

TARIFFS EMPLOYMENT COMPETITORS CHECKS ACCOUNTING TARIFF RATES PRODUCTION IMPORT REGIMES INTEREST DUMMY VARIABLES PARTNER AVERAGE PRICES EXCHANGE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS IMPORT TAXES EXPORTS ENTREPRENEURS DEVELOPING COUNTRIES DOMESTIC MARKET TAX COLLECTION EXPORTERS POLITICAL ECONOMY REVENUES COMPANIES MARKET SHARES PROTECTION FOR SALE BUDGET CONSTRAINTS ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS PRICE TAX LOBBYING DUMMY VARIABLE EXPORT QUANTITY INTERNATIONAL BANK TRADE AGREEMENTS BUDGET IMPORT LICENSES CUSTOMS DUTIES TARIFF INCREASES FISCAL POLICIES IMPORT DATA FOREIGN TRADE IMPORT PRICES IMPORT DECLARATIONS NON-TARIFF BARRIERS TAX REGIME CUSTOMS PRODUCTS TRADING TAX EXEMPTIONS FIRM INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS OPEN ECONOMY INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS IMPORTS TRADE POLICY PRODUCT ENTERPRISES FINANCE COMPETITOR BANK POLICY TAXES EXPORT VALUE TRANSACTIONS GRANT CONSUMPTION SUBSTITUTE FIRMS TAX RATE FRAUD CUSTOMS OFFICIALS INTERNATIONAL TRADE TRANCHE VALUE CUSTOMS AUTHORITIES IMPORT VALUES FOREIGN INVESTMENT DEMAND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES IMPORT PRICE DEMAND FUNCTION BAILOUTS EXPENDITURES PROPERTY TAX RATES JOB CREATION SALE AVERAGE PRICE SHARES IMPORT SHARE MARKET TRADE LIBERALIZATION PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT INSURANCE TAXATION EXPANSION ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TRADE INTERESTS GOODS INVESTMENT DOMESTIC PRODUCTION SHARE COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE INVESTMENT CLIMATE PARTNERS TARIFF MARKET POWER TAX POLICY PROFIT RISK MANAGEMENT TRUST FUND PRICE DECREASE TARIFF RATE EXCHANGE RATE RISK AVERSION PROFITS TRADING PARTNERS IMPORT DUTIES IMPORT VALUE CUSTOMS DECLARATIONS OUTSOURCING PRICES INEQUALITY CUSTOMS REGIME
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World Bank, Washington, DC
Middle East and North Africa | Tunisia
2015-07-17T18:59:06Z | 2015-07-17T18:59:06Z | 2015-06

Are politically connected firms more likely to evade taxes? This paper presents evidence suggesting firms owned by President Ben Ali and his family were more prone to evade import tariffs. During Ben Ali’s reign, evasion gaps, defined as the difference between the value of exports to Tunisia reported by partner countries and the value of imports reported at Tunisian customs, were correlated with the import share of connected firms. This association was especially strong for goods subject to high tariffs, and driven by underreporting of unit prices, which diminished after the revolution. Consistent with these product-level patterns, unit prices reported by connected firms were lower than those reported by other firms, and declined faster with tariffs than those of other firms. Moreover, privatization to the Ben Ali family was associated with a reduction in reported unit prices, whereas privatization per se was not.

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