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Import dynamics and demands for protection


  • Russell Hillberry
  • Phillip McCalman


What kinds of changes in foreign competition lead domestic industries to seek import protection? To address this question, we use detailed monthly US import data to investigate changes in import composition during a 24-month window immediately preceding the filing of a petition for import protection. A decomposition methodology allows a comparison of imports from two groups of countries supplying the same product: those that are named in the petition and those that are not. The same decomposition can be applied to products quite similar to the imports in question, but not subject to a petition. The results suggest that industries typically seek protection when faced with a specific pattern of shocks. First, a persistent positive relative supply shock favours imports from named countries. Second, a negative demand shock hits imports from all sources just prior to domestic industries petition for protection. The relative supply shock is a broad one; it applies both to named commodities and to the comparison product group. The import demand shock, by contrast, is narrow, hitting only named products. This negative import demand shock appears to be a key event in the run-up to the filing of a petition. This latter shock has been missed by previous studies using more aggregated data.

Suggested Citation

  • Russell Hillberry & Phillip McCalman, 2016. "Import dynamics and demands for protection," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1125-1152, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:49:y:2016:i:3:p:1125-1152
    DOI: 10.1111/caje.12227

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    Cited by:

    1. Kuenzel, David J., 2020. "WTO tariff commitments and temporary protection: Complements or substitutes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    2. Phillip McCalman & Frank Stähler & Gerald Willmann, 2019. "Contingent trade policy and economic efficiency," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 155(2), pages 227-255, May.
    3. Chrysostomos Tabakis & Maurizio Zanardi, 2017. "Antidumping Echoing," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(2), pages 655-681, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations


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