The Raw and the Carved: Shipping Costs and Ivory Smuggling
22 Pages Posted: 29 May 2014
Date Written: May 27, 2014
The recent and rapid increase in elephant poaching has caused international alarm. A panel-data regression model was employed to identify possible causes of this upsurge. The large decline in shipping costs after the GFC is strongly correlated to the rise in large shipments interdicted in recent years. Other factors include the decline in global interest rates, which motivates increased stockpiling by criminal organisations. A sharp decline in stability in Africa, especially Central Africa can also be linked to the raw ivory seizures. This evidence also indicates that the recent upsurge is more supply-driven than it is demand-driven. Criminal organisations appear to be taking advantage of current conditions to transfer and store ivory in stockpiles out of Africa. This raises doubt that the upsurge is a demand-driven event related to the current markets for ivory.
Keywords: CITES, Elephant, ivory, poaching, smuggling, wildlife economics
JEL Classification: C33, K42, Q28, Q57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation