Is an Independent Agency Independent? How Congress Attempts to Influence U.S. International Trade Commission Determinations
Spicer, Kevin Howard
The mission of the International Trade Commission is to provide impartial and independent analysis and determinations when implementing U.S. trade remedy law. The ITC makes determinations in proceedings that involve allegations of unfair trade practices that injure a domestic industry. As part of the proceedings, a public hearing allows Members of Congress to communicate with the ITC on the merits of the case on behalf of the domestic industry. Previous research has suggested that the participation of certain Members of Congress is on average associated with an increase in the likelihood of an affirmative determination. Using data on completed ITC cases from 1997 and 2010, this paper assesses the impact of all Members of Congress and different subsets, and includes different controls to account for changes in employment and the tendencies of a group of Commissioners. When using these new controls and different groups of Members of Congress, the results showed that Member involvement produces mixed and minimal results on the outcome of the determination and the number of affirmative votes.
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