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The Antebellum U.S. Iron Industry: Domestic Production and Foreign Competition

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  • Joseph H. Davis
  • Douglas A. Irwin

Abstract

This paper presents new annual estimates of U.S. production of pig iron and imports of pig iron products dating back to 1827. These estimates are used to assess the vulnerability of the antebellum iron industry to foreign competition and the role of the tariff in fostering the industry's early development. Domestic pig iron production is found to be highly sensitive to changes in import prices. Although import price fluctuations had a much greater impact on U.S. production than changes in import duties, our estimates suggest that the tariff permitted domestic output to be about thirty to forty percent larger than it would have been without protection.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13451.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Publication status: published as Davis, Joseph H. & Irwin, Douglas A., 2008. "The antebellum U.S. iron industry: Domestic production and foreign competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 254-269, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13451

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  1. Gene M. Grossman, 1984. "Imports as a Cause of Injury: The Case of the U.S. Steel Industry," NBER Working Papers 1494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Harley, C. Knick, 2001. "The Antebellum Tariff: Different Products Or Competing Sources? A Comment On Irwin And Temin," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 799-805, September.
  3. Calomiris, Charles W. & Hanes, Christopher, 1994. "Consistent Output Series for the Antebellum and Postbellum Periods: Issues and Preliminary Results," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 409-422, June.
  4. Harley, C. Knick, 1992. "International Competitiveness of the Antebellum American Cotton Textile Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(03), pages 559-584, September.
  5. Irwin, Douglas A. & Temin, Peter, 2001. "The Antebellum Tariff On Cotton Textiles Revisited," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 777-798, September.
  6. Fogel, Robert W & Engerman, Stanley L, 1969. "A Model for the Explanation of Industrial Expansion during the Nineteenth Century: With an Application to the American Iron Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 306-28, May/June.
  7. Breusch, Trevor S & Wickens, Michael R, 1987. "Dynamic Specification, the Long Run and the Estimation of Transformed Regression Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 154, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Gerrard, W J & Godfrey, L G, 1998. "Diagnostic Checks for Single-Equation Error-Correction and Autoregressive Distributed Lag Models," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 66(2), pages 222-37, March.
  9. John Joseph Wallis, 2001. "What Caused the Crisis of 1839?," NBER Historical Working Papers 0133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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