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The Canada-U.S. Auto Pact of 1965: An Experiment in Selective Trade Liberalization

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  • Melvyn Fuss
  • Leonard Waverman

Abstract

In this paper we analyse the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact, a selective trade liberalization agreement which created a duty-free North American market for the major U.S. multinational automobile producers, but continued to protect them from offshore producers. The new international trade/I.O. literature predicts that, given the probable unexploited economics of scale and specialization in the tariff-protected small Canadian economy prior to 1965, rationalization leading to large efficiency gains in Canadian production vis a vis U.S. production would occur in a free trade environment. We estimate that the Auto Pact did not induce a substantial improvement in Canadian relative production efficiency. The missing ingredient seems to have been the competition-increasing effects of free trade in an oligopolistic setting that is emphasized by the new trade/I.O. literature. The Auto Pact did not increase the number of rivals in the oligopolistic Canadian industry since the major players in the industry had production facilities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border before 1965, and no significant new entry into Canada occurred. In the 1962-64 period, Canadian automotive production was 27% less efficient than U.S. production. By 1970-72 this deficiency had been reduced to 19%, but was not further reduced by the end of the 1970's. Of the 8 percentage points reduction in the Canadian disadvantage, we attribute only 3 percentage points to the rationalization process induced specifically by the Auto Pact.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1953.

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Date of creation: Jun 1986
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Publication status: published as "The Canada-U.S. Auto Pact of 1965." In Costs and Productivity in Automobile Production, ed. by Melvyn Fuss and Leonard Waverman, pp. 172-208. New York: Cambridge University Press, February 1992.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1953

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  1. Melvyn A. Fuss & Leonard Waverman, 1986. "The Extent and Sources of Cost and Efficiency Differences Between U.S. and Japanese Automobile Producers," NBER Working Papers 1849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Cox & Richard Harris, 1983. "Trade Liberalization and Industrial Organization: Some Estimates for Canada," Working Papers 523, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Kim, Moshe, 1984. "The Beneficiaries of Trucking Regulation, Revisited," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 227-41, April.
  4. Markusen, James R., 1981. "Trade and the gains from trade with imperfect competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 531-551, November.
  5. Robidoux, B. & Lester, J., 1988. "Econometric Estimates Of Scale Economies In Canadian Manufacturing," Working Papers-Department of Finance Canada 1988-4, Department of Finance Canada.
  6. James Brander, 1980. "Intra-Industry Trade in Identical Commodities," Working Papers 380, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  8. Berndt, Ernst R. & Fuss, Melvyn A., 1986. "Productivity measurement with adjustments for variations in capacity utilization and other forms of temporary equilibrium," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 7-29.
  9. Denny, Michael & Fuss, Melvyn, 1983. "A general approach to intertemporal and interspatial productivity comparisons," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 315-330, December.
  10. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  11. Harris, Richard, 1984. "Applied General Equilibrium Analysis of Small Open Economies with Scale Economies and Imperfect Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 1016-32, December.
  12. Paul Wonnacott & Ronald J. Wonnacott, 1982. "Free Trade between the United States and Canada: Fifteen Years Later," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 8(s1), pages 412-427, October.
  13. McFadden, Daniel, 1978. "Cost, Revenue, and Profit Functions," Histoy of Economic Thought Chapters, in: Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel (ed.), Production Economics: A Dual Approach to Theory and Applications, volume 1, chapter 1 McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought.
  14. Michael Denny & M. Fuss & C. Everson & L. Waverman, 1981. "Estimating the Effects of Diffusion of Technological Innovations in Telecommunications: The Production Structure of Bell Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 14(1), pages 24-43, February.
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