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Refugees and “Missing” Arms Trade

Gaia Narciso, Trinity College Dublin & IIIS

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 350


Millions of people are killed or wounded by small arms each year. The aim of this study is to enhance our understanding of “missing” frms trade across countries. We proceed in two steps. First, we measure the extent of missing arms trade on the basis of official trade statistics. We construct a measure of the gap in arms trade based on the discrepancy between the value of arms exports reported by the exporting country and the value of arms imports recorded by the importing country. Second, we uncover the link between refugee movements and missing arms trade. Refugee flows, by reducing the ability of the receiving country to patrol its borders and its customs, are found to be correlated with arms smuggling across the border into the importing country. A series of robustness checks confirm the above findings.

JEL codes: F14, K42, O15.
Keywords: international trade, refugees, arms.

Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).