Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 83, Issue 4, pp 759–771 | Cite as

Ethical Aspects of Using Government to Subvert Competition: Antidumping Laws as a Case Study of Rent Seeking Activity

  • Robert W. McGee


This article examines the question of whether it is ethical for company officials to use the force of government to reduce or eliminate foreign competition, using the antidumping laws as a case study. This article begins with a brief examination of the U.S. antidumping laws and then examines several ethical questions related to the antidumping laws. The main question to be addressed is whether, and under what circumstances, it is ethical for domestic producers to ask government to launch an antidumping investigation against a foreign competitor. Related questions to be examined include (1) Whether it is ethical to ask the government to launch an antidumping investigation even when the domestic company making the request knows that dumping has not occurred; (2) Whether it is ethical to ask for an antidumping investigation in cases where dumping (according to the definition of dumping) has occurred, where the effect is to help domestic producers at the expense of the general public. This article examines these questions by applying both utilitarian and non-utilitarian approaches.


rent seeking antidumping utilitarian ethics rights theory special interest 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Armentano D. T.: 1990, Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure. Second edition. Holmes & Meier, New York & LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Armentano D. T.: 1999, Antitrust: The Case for Repeal. Revised Second edition. The Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, ALGoogle Scholar
  3. Bastiat F.: 1964a, Economic Harmonies. Foundation for Economic Education. Irvington-on-Hudson, NYGoogle Scholar
  4. Bastiat F.: 1964b, Economic Sophisms. Foundation for Economic Education. Irvington-on-Hudson, NYGoogle Scholar
  5. Bastiat F.: 1968, The Law. Foundation for Economic Education. Irvington-on-Hudson, NYGoogle Scholar
  6. Bentham J.: 1988, The Principles of Morals and Legislation. Prometheus Books, Amherst, NYGoogle Scholar
  7. Block W.: 1994, Total Repeal of Antitrust Legislation: A Critique of Bork, Brozen, and Posner, The Review of Austrian Economics 8(1), 35–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bovard J.: 1991, The Fair Trade Fraud. St. Martin’s Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Cameron May: 2006, The Global Anti-Dumping Handbook. Cameron May, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Crisp, R. (ed.): 1997, Mill on Utilitarianism Google Scholar
  11. Curtiss W. M.: 1953, The Tariff Idea. Foundation for Economic Education. Irvington-on-Hudson, NYGoogle Scholar
  12. Dale R.: 1980, Anti-Dumping Law in a Liberal Trade Order. St. Martin’s Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Fisher F. M.: 1987, On Predation and Victimless Crime, Antitrust Bulletin 32, 85–92Google Scholar
  14. Friedman M.: 1962, Capitalism & Freedom. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  15. Gallaway M. R., B. A. Blonigen, J. E. Flynn: 1999, Welfare Costs of the U.S. Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Laws, Journal of International Economics 49(2), 211–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goodin R. E.: 1995, Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Hindley B., P. A. Messerlin: 1996, Antidumping Industrial Policy. The AEI Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  18. Hospers J.: 1971, Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow. Nash Publishing, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  19. Hufbauer G. C., D. T. Berliner, K. A. Elliott: 1986, Trade Protection in the United States: 31 Case Studies. Institute for International Economics, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  20. Knoll M. S.: 1987, United States Antidumping Law: The Case for Reconsideration. Texas International Law Journal 22, 265–290Google Scholar
  21. Koller R. H.: 1971, The Myth of Predatory Pricing: An Empirical Study, Antitrust Law and Economics Review 4, 105–123Google Scholar
  22. Lindsey B., D. J. Ikenson: 2003, Antidumping Exposed: The Devilish Details of Unfair Trade Law. Cato Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  23. Mastel G.: 1998, Antidumping Laws and the U.S. Economy. M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, NYGoogle Scholar
  24. McGee J. S.: 1958, Predatory Price Cutting: The Standard Oil (N.J.) Case. Journal of Law and Economics 1, 137–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McGee R. W.: 1993, The Case to Repeal the Antidumping Laws, Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business 13(3), 491–562Google Scholar
  26. McGee R. W.: 1994, A Trade Policy for Free Societies: The Case against Protectionism. Quorum Books, Westport, CT & LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. McGee R. W.: 1997, The Fatal Flaw in the Methodology of Law and Economics, Commentaries on Law and Economics 1, 209–223Google Scholar
  28. Mill J. S.: 1993, On Liberty and Utilitarianism. Bantam Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Nozick R.: 1974, Anarchy, State and Utopia. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Palmeter N. D.: 1986, Torquemada and the Tariff Act: The Inquisitor Rides Again, International Lawyer 20, 641–657Google Scholar
  31. Quinton A.: 1988, Utilitarian Ethics. Open Court, LaSalle, ILGoogle Scholar
  32. Rand A.: 1964, The Virtue of Selfishness. Signet Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. Ricardo, D.: 1817, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation Google Scholar
  34. Rockefeller E. S.: 2007, The Antitrust Religion. Cato Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  35. Rothbard M. N.: 2004, Man, Economy, & State. Scholar’s Edition. Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, ALGoogle Scholar
  36. Rottenberg S. (Ed.). 1980, Occupational Licensure and Regulation. American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  37. Rowley C. K., R. D. Tollison, G. Tullock (eds). 1988, The Political Economy of Rent-Seeking. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, Dordrecht & LancasterGoogle Scholar
  38. Schumpeter J. A.: 1942, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Harper, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Shaw W. H.: 1999, Contemporary Ethics: Taking Account of Utilitarianism. Blackwell Publishers, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  40. Shughart W. F. II: 1990, Antitrust Policy and Interest-Group Politics. Quorum Books, New York, Westport & LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. Tullock G.: 1987, Private Wants, Public Means: An Economic Analysis of the Desirable Scope of Government. University Press of America, Lanham, New York & LondonGoogle Scholar
  42. Tullock G.: 1989, The Economics of Special Privilege and Rent Seeking. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, Dordrecht & LondonGoogle Scholar
  43. Tullock G.: 1993, Rent Seeking. Edward Elgar Publishing Company, Brookfield, VT & Hants, UKGoogle Scholar
  44. United States International Trade Commission: 1995, The Economic Effects of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders and Suspension Agreements. Investigation No. 332–344, Publication 2900. Washington, DC: United States International Trade Commission, JuneGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AccountingFlorida International UniversityNorth MiamiU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations