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Illicit Shadows: An Economic Analysis of Trade Gaps in Cultural Goods through the Italian Market

Elia Acciai, Michele Belloni, Marina Della Giusta and Giovanna Segre
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Elia Acciai: University of Torino
Giovanna Segre: University of Torino

No 16282, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: This paper provides evidence of a consistent gap in the value of cultural goods exported from Italy and the value declared by its trading partners in official trade statistics for the period 1994-2021 and discusses it in the context of the literature on illicit trafficking in cultural property, a phenomenon that plights a number of both developing and developed countries rich in cultural heritage. Differences between the four categories of cultural goods recorded (archaeological goods, antiquities, paintings, and sculptures) are exploited to highlight potential areas where trafficking might be expected to be larger. We construct a panel dataset to estimate a gravity model of the gap including market size, extent of trade, level of corruption and adoption of protective legislation (UNESCO and UNIDROIT) and discuss results indicating further questions to be investigated in this important and to date under researched policy area.

Keywords: illicit trafficking; cultural property; trade; corruption; UNESCO; UNIDROIT (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F13 F14 K12 K42 O17 Z11 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 18 pages
Date: 2023-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul and nep-law
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