The Role of Firm-Level Legal and Administrative Capacity in Explaining Firm-Specific Dumping Margin Outcomes in U.S.-Administered Antidumping Investigations (2000-2014): An Econometric Analysis
The role of legal and administrative capacity (“LAC”) in shaping antidumping outcomes has increasingly captured the attention of scholars across a broad range of disciplines. Prior LAC scholarship has largely focused on the experience of member countries in antidumping proceedings brought before the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body. No prior scholarship has analyzed the role of firm-level LAC in explaining the firm-specific dumping margins estimated by the administering authority of a particular country. The relationship between LAC and firm-specific dumping margins is relevant to the field of international development insofar as it has been postulated that capacity constraint-conditioned dumping margin differentials have a disproportionately adverse impact on respondent firms from developing countries. This dynamic, it is further postulated, compromises the ability of producers and exporters in developing countries to integrate themselves into global supply chains and/or access lucrative export markets. These outcomes, in turn, undercut developing country efforts to achieve export-driven economic growth and development strategies. This work empirically examines the theory that LAC is a significant determinant of firm-specific dumping margins in U.S. antidumping investigations administered between 2000 and 2014 using, in connection with a triangulated set of confirmatory and exploratory research questions, a newly constructed database and capacity index. Descriptive and inferential analyses reveal the presence of statistically significant differences between the average firm-specific dumping margins estimated for respondent firms with low- and high- levels of LAC. Moreover, this work finds evidence of a statistically significant association between firm-specific dumping margin outcomes and LAC, both on a stand-alone basis and when modeled alongside alternative explanatory variables. These results provide empirical grounds for concluding that (i) the capacity constraint theory has, in the context of U.S.-administered AD investigations, merit and (ii) U.S. statutes, regulations, procedures, and methodologies operate to impose differentially disadvantageous consequences on certain parties. The latter conclusion violates both the WTO prohibition against de facto discrimination and the U.S. commitment to give special regard to the situation of developing countries. This work concludes by presenting recommendations and diagnostic tools geared toward improving the experience of capacity-constrained respondent firms in U.S. antidumping investigations and identifying directions for future research.