2018 Costa Rica

Is smuggling welfare-improving? Evidence from avocados in Costa Rica

Authors: Metivier, J.; Bouet, A.

Does smuggling improve economic welfare? This paper provides a theoretical model of illegal trade and determines the impact of smuggling on economic welfare. We focus on Costa Rica’s recent prohibition of avocados imported from Mexico. Using unique data on trade, production, and the price of Costa Rican and Mexican avocados, we find that the quantity of avocados smuggled into Costa Rica on an annual basis ranges from 4,668 to 10,232 metric tons, representing up to four times the quantity of locally

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