Of the myriad economic functions performed by trade associations,the practice of gathering, compiling, and disseminating trade statistics is doubtless one of the most important.' Although the numerous statistical reporting programs vary markedly in size and scope, it seems safe to say that at least two-thirds of all trade associations indulge in some form of statistical activity. The beginning of this trade association statistical reporting is usually attributed to the theories contained in a book called The New Competition, written by A. J. Eddy and published in 1912. The concept championed by this work was "open competition," and an important part of this plan was that if there were free exchange of trade information among competitors, the resulting enlightenment would work a benefit to the members of the industry and to the public. If competitors had full information as to each other's prices, costs, and production, they could assay accurately their competitive positions and avoid wasteful and uneconomic practices, which followed from the secrecy of pricing and the lack of market awareness. This notion received judicial approval in the case of Maple Flooring Manufacturers Ass'n v. United States.
The Legality of Trade Association Statistical Reporting Under the Antitrust Laws,
11 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol11/iss2/5