Potential Foreign Competition in U.S. Manufacturing
Georgia Institute of Technology; Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)
International Journal of Industrial Organization, Vol. 20, No. 10, pp. 1461-1489, December 2002
Trade barriers are falling and firms are competing in increasingly open international markets. The data reveal considerable heterogeneity across industries in the intertemporal path of import-shares. Against this backdrop, we focus on an issue that is increasingly important for competition policy analysis: "potential" foreign competition. Inadequate attention to this aspect could result in a biased picture of total competition, leading to misguided antitrust decisions. Drawing on the conceptual framework outlined by Landes and Posner (Harvard Law Review, 1981), we measure potential foreign competition by the intertemporal response of industry import-share to industry-specific and aggregate economic factors, and our estimates indicate wide variation across industries in this dimension. A particularly striking finding is that highly concentrated industries, which are more likely to be subject to antitrust scrutiny, have a greater degree of potential foreign competition than industries with low concentration, even though the extent of actual foreign competition is similar across these groups of industries.
Keywords: Import-competition, antitrust, competition policy, market structure
JEL Classification: L40, F10, L10, F01Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 7, 2002
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