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Peers and Tiers and US High-Tech Export Controls: A New Approach to Estimating Export Shortfalls


  • Asha Sundaram

    (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

  • J. David Richardson

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)


In this study, we employ a diff erence-in-diff erence, gravity-equation approach to quantifying the trade impact of hightechnology export controls that are motivated by national security. We estimate the eff ect of controls on high-tech export performance of the United States, of its traditional rival (peer) exporters, and of emerging exporters. Using an 11-year panel of seven high-tech sectors from 1994 through 2004, we find that the United States under-exports to “high-threat” importers. We find, more surprisingly, that the United States over-exports to “medium-threat” importers and to a large “trusted” group of importers, both relative to a norm (default group) of importers. We find that traditional peer exporters under-export to the trusted group of importers, and along with emerging exporters, under-export to most medium-threat importers. Th ese findings, robust in a comparable dataset ending in 2011, suggest high substitutability between export suppliers and export markets for high-tech products. Th e same peer exporters over-export to high-threat importers, suggesting their less stringent enforcement of multilateral export controls and also undermining to a certain extent, the security objective of the very strictest of these controls. Overall, importers deemed security threats import only half of their high-tech potential from the 10 exporters on which we focus. Our study underlines the importance of current American eff orts to reform the export control regime to make it more target-eff ective.

Suggested Citation

  • Asha Sundaram & J. David Richardson, 2013. "Peers and Tiers and US High-Tech Export Controls: A New Approach to Estimating Export Shortfalls," Working Paper Series WP13-5, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp13-5

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    Cited by:

    1. J. David Richardson & Asha Sundaram, 2013. "Sizing Up US Export Disincentives for a New Generation of National-Security Export Controls," Policy Briefs PB13-13, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

    More about this item


    US Trade Policy; US National Security; Competitiveness; Emerging High-Technology Exporters; Gravity Model; Diff erence-in-Diff erence Estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism


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