Academic Seminar: Corruption and Trade at Benin’s Borders

On April 10, Dr. Joachim Jarreau visited ASE to present his paper, “Determinants of Petty Corruption in Transport – Evidence from Benin’s Borders.” Dr. Jarreau is currently an assistant professor at the University of Paris-Dauphine and conducts research as part of the DIAL (Développement, Institutions, et Mondialisation) Group in Paris.

Dr. Jarreau discussed the motivations for his paper, namely determining the costs of corruption in transport as part of cross-border trade and its impact on citizens’ welfare in Benin. The paper focused on informal trade in transport and analyzed the implications of bribery, using data from the a survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Analysis (INSAE) in Benin in 2011.

In the survey, traders were asked how much they contributed on the road in both informal payments without receipt, and formal payments at roadblocks controlled by military and customs officers. The paper also analyzed various transport modes, routes, and border crossings. It focused on trade flows across Benin’s borders with Togo and Nigeria Dr. Jarreau and his co-author also consisted primarily of imported and exported local goods, “entrepôt” (or transit) trade goods, and smuggled petroleum products.

In his results, Dr. Jarreau found that 70-80% of all traders paid a bribe. However, products that weighed more and had a higher value demanded more bribes. In addition, petroleum traders, wholesalers, and frequent border crossers paid more bribes in general. Regarding transport modes, trucks and cars paid more bribes in comparison to pedestrians, motorcycles, and pirogues. To conclude, Dr. Jarreau emphasized his interest in studying traders’ ethnicities in order to determine whether certain groups were more involved in the illicit trade of petroleum products than others.