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Concording U.S. Harmonized System categories over time

  • Justin R. Pierce
  • Peter K. Schott

Monitoring changes to product classification systems is an important component of a wide range of empirical research. In this paper we develop an algorithm for concording periodic revisions to the ten-digit Harmonized System (HS) codes used by U.S. statistical agencies to categorize international trade since 1989. We use this algorithm to construct the first comprehensive concordance of HS codes over time, and show how this concordance can be extended to incorporate future revisions. We then characterize the extent of HS-code changes since 1989 and discuss how controlling for these revisions is critical for understanding the growth of U.S. trade. Lastly, we highlight the general applicability of the algorithm to other national and international product classification systems.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2012-16.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-16
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2009. "The Margins of U.S. Trade (Long Version)," NBER Working Papers 14662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2008. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 14416, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Justin Pierce, 2009. "Plant-Level Responses to Antidumping Duties: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturers," Working Papers 09-38r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Jul 2011.
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