In some cases, we can generate support for enforcement by helping to organize new coalitions that combine collective interests with the capacity to pressurise rule enforcement agencies.
These coalitions can be challenging, because they bring together disparate interests, so our research task is to identify possibilities and provide evidence for participants in this type of collective action.
For instance, corruption in customs is a serious problem in all our target countries. There is very limited horizontal support for the enforcement of customs rules because consumers and importers both benefit from violations. The public - who would theoretically benefit from extra tax revenues - have limited interest in putting pressure on the state given the poor quality of service delivery.
Nevertheless, in some areas, horizontal coalitions are possible where smuggling affects domestic producers and their employees and stifles potential growth.
The emerging electronics industry in Bangladesh, rice producers in Nigeria or sugar producers in Tanzania suffer from smuggling, but have the capacity to participate or lead coalitions of employers, workers, campaigning newspapers and other actors to put pressure on customs authorities to enforce relevant customs regulations.
Our research task will be to provide evidence of the quantification of lost profits, employment losses or the identification of points of leakage to help build relevant coalitions.
Image credit: Matthias Ripp - Street market in Dar es Salaam