This paper provides 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. We build a model highlighting the contribution of private surveillance firms to the generation of information and describing how incentives for underinvoicing and collusive behaviour between importers and customs are affected by the introduction of PSI. It is shown theoretically that the introduction of PSI has an ambiguous effect on the level of fraud. Empirically, our econometric results suggest that the introduction of PSI services increased underinvoicing in Argentina and Indonesia, and reduced it in the Philippines.
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