The Effects of Low-Valued Transactions on the Quality of U.S.
International Export Estimates, 1994-1998
by Charles Ian Mead
This paper uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of Manufactures
(ASM) to examine the effects that a growth of low-valued transactions
likely has on the quality of export estimates provided in the U.S. International
Trade in Goods and Services (FT-990) series. These transactions, valued
at less than $2,500, do not legally require the filing of export declarations.
As a result, they are often not captured in the administrative records
data used to construct FT-990 estimates. By comparing industry-level estimates
created from the ASM to related FT-990 estimates, this paper estimates
that the undercounting of low-valued transactions in the FT-990 export
series increases by roughly $30 billion over the period of 1994-1997.
It also finds that regression analysis provides little insight into the
undercounting issue as results are primarily driven by industries whose
contributions to total manufacturing exports are small.
Last changed: July 29, 2004