Migrant Smuggling

25 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2010 Last revised: 12 Oct 2010

See all articles by Yuji Tamura

Yuji Tamura

Department of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University; ANU Centre for Economic Policy Research, Australian National University

Date Written: February 19, 2010


We analyze a model of the migrant smuggling market where smugglers differ in the capacity to exploit their clients' labor at the destination. We suggest that destination countries with limited resources may prefer to improve the apprehension of smugglers and their clients at the border rather than inland, although either one of these anti-smuggling measures would reduce migrant exploitation. The reason is twofold. First, even if the resulting improvement in border apprehension alone cannot eliminate smuggling, it can do so when combined with a severe penalty for smuggling. Second, even if it is impracticable to set the penalty for smuggling sufficiently high, improved border apprehension reduces smuggling by discouraging existing exploitative smugglers from smuggling, whereas improved inland apprehension either maintains or even increases it by inducing them and those who are not currently smuggling to take up nonexploitative smuggling.

Keywords: illegal migration, people smuggling, migrant exploitation, human trafficking

JEL Classification: F22, J68, K42

Suggested Citation

Tamura, Yuji, Migrant Smuggling (February 19, 2010). Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 94, No. 7-8, pp. 540-548, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1576974

Yuji Tamura (Contact Author)

Department of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University ( email )

Melbourne, VIC 3086

HOME PAGE: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/economics

ANU Centre for Economic Policy Research, Australian National University

Canberra, ACT 2600

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