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Does Better Information Curb Customs Fraud?

Working paper
with C. Chalendard, A. Fernandes, A. Mattoo, G. Raballand, B. Rijkers

with C. Chalendard, A. M. Fernandes, A. Mattoo, G. Raballand, B. Rijkers

This paper examines how the provision of information to customs inspectors and their monitoring impact tax revenue collection and fraud detection, conducting two separate but highly complementary analyses. First, we examine the returns to the third-party provision of information, in the form of valuation advice for a subset of high-risk import declarations. Second, we document the results of a nationwide risk management randomized control trial to increase revenue collection by increasing information provision and monitoring of customs inspectors’ actions. The treatment consisted in the provision by the customs risk management unit of detailed comments on a subset of randomly selected high-risk declarations and a set of randomly selected high-risk declarations were flagged as being subject to an ex-post audit. We find that the provision of extensive comments helped reduce fraud but the resulting improvements in tax collection are small and only valid for declarations that do not benefit from third-party valuation advice already. We find no impact of monitoring on customs performance. The lack of impact of the monitoring treatment and the relatively limited impact of extensive comments may in part be due to the timing of the randomized control trial, which was implemented just before Madagascar’s general election, which led to significant turnover among senior customs management, which undermined the credibility of potential punitive actions. Moreover, the absence of well-defined sanctions may have limited the deterrence effect of monitoring.



The Impact of Roads on Land-Use Change in Ethiopia: Evidence from Satellite Data

Work in progress
with Simon Alder, Kevin Croke, Rob Marty, Ariana Vaisey

with Simon Alder, Kevin Croke, Rob Marty, Ariana Vaisey.

This project studies the impact of the 20 years Road Sector Development project on land use in Ethiopia. The team uses satellite imagery to look into changes in cropland and urbanization following the opening of the newly built or rehabilitated roads. Given the large number of roads built or rehabilitated, we are able to provide estimates for different road types.

Careers in academia: An empirical assessment of the importance of social network for mobility

Working paper
Alice Duhaut

In this paper, I look at how a researcher’s professional network influences her career path, and I specifically consider the career of young economists on the American academic market. I exploit a orginal data set building from the researchers’ individual vitae and their publication records to investigate the impact of social network on career path. I find that the number of social ties a researcher has as well as her relative position in the research network matters for explaining career mobility and success, even when controlling for publications. Having more co-authors boost the early career, while a higher quality of publications is what matters on the long run.

The Spanish research network in the current budget crisis

Working paper
Alice Duhaut

In this paper, I look at the impact of inter-university research partnerships on the
production of research outputs. Using an original data set of scienti c publications,
I analyze the network of research in Spain based on the network of Spanish coauthors.
I show how the growth in research productivity of Spanish institutions
before the crisis was linked to the increase in universities’ budgets and in interuniversity

The Impact of Transport Corridors on Economic Activity in Pakistan

Ongoing project
with Marta Santamaria

with Marta Santamaria

In this ongoing impact evaluation, we study the impacts of transport investments on economic activity in Pakistan.

Geographical Patterns of Citations and ideas transmission

Ongoing project
Alice Duhaut

In this paper, I look at patterns of citations in science, and look at the role of geography in citations.