IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/4749.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Precedent and Legal Argument in U.S. Trade Policy: Do They Matter To The Political Economy of the Lumber Dispute?

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph P. Kalt

Abstract

For more than a decade, the United States and Canada have been engaged in a rancorous dispute over trade in softwood lumber. Through three successive rounds of administrative litigation before the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. sawmill industry has sought to have countervailing duties imposed upon Canadian lumber imports. The U.S. interests argue that Canada subsidizes its sawmills by providing timber from public forests at below-market prices, and by restricting exports of Canadian logs. This study examines whether, and to what extent, the institutional framework -- the legal rules, standards and precedents - - of CVD law influences the success or failure of the contending parties. Two alternative theories of political economy are tested. Capture Theory de-emphasizes the role of institutional settings of the kind at work here: The outcomes of political action are determined by the stakes and organization of rent-seeking parties, and the quasi- judicial regulatory proceedings of the Department of Commerce are mere Stiglerian theater. The New Institutionalism, on the other hand, posits that the structure and form of such proceedings are conditioning constraints, with the capacity to significantly influence the outcome of rent-seeking battles. Applying pseudo-regression Boolean techniques to a set of the actual legal issues argued before the Department of Commerce, this study finds more support for Capture Theory than for the New Institutionalism. An issue with large stakes is never lost by the politically-favored party, even when legal precedent and the burden of argument is against the party's interest.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph P. Kalt, 1994. "Precedent and Legal Argument in U.S. Trade Policy: Do They Matter To The Political Economy of the Lumber Dispute?," NBER Working Papers 4749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4749
    Note: ITI
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4749.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Roberts, Donna & Orden, David, 1995. "Determinants of Technical Barriers to Trade: The Case of US Phytosanitary Restrictions on Mexican Avocados, 1972-1995," 1995: Understanding Technical Barriers to Agricultural Trade Conference, December 1995, Tucson, Arizona 50709, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4749. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.