The Economic Impact of the U.S. Export Trading Company Act
43 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2006 Last revised: 29 May 2015
Date Written: August 1, 2006
This paper provides an empirical analysis of the limited immunity for export cartels offered by the United States' Export Trading Company Act (1982). We have assembled a data set of 195 Export Trade Certificates of Review - all those created from when the first certificate was granted in 1983 through the end of 2004. We provide descriptive statistics on these ETCs, including the types of firms that apply for these certificates and the nature of the restrictions placed upon them by the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice. We then estimate the determinants of the real value of U.S. product-level manufacturing exports from 1978 through 2004. We find that, controlling for the growth rate of exports in the industry, on average ETCs do not increase exports. In some estimates, the real value of exports actually falls after receiving an ETC. There are two possible explanations for this. One is that firms choose to obtain an ETC Certificate of Review when they are concerned that exports in the sector are going to fall. Receiving an ETC thus precedes this fall in exports, but does not cause it. The second possible explanation is that industries with ETCs can in fact exercise market power and the decline in the real value of exports reflects a strategic reduction in the quantity of goods exported. Given the predominance of ETCs in relatively unconcentrated industries we believe the former explanation is more plausible.
Keywords: Export cartel, antitrust, Export Trading Company Act, Webb-Pomerene Act
JEL Classification: L13, K21, L41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation