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Union behavior, industry rents, and optimal policies


  • Swagel, Phillip


This paper examines the supposed welfare gains from strategic trade and industrial policies in the U.S. steel industry. Strategic policies to capture labor rents lead to an endogenous response which greatly diminishes their importance. On the other hand, reducing domestic labor market distortions results in welfare gains nearly as large as those from optimal trade and industrial policies. The paper concludes that the focus on labor rents as the subject of U.S. trade and industrial policy is overstated, at least in manufacturing industries such as integrated steel.
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  • Swagel, Phillip, 2000. "Union behavior, industry rents, and optimal policies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 925-947, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:18:y:2000:i:6:p:925-947

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Morrison, Catherine, 1988. "Subequilibrium in the North American Steel Industries: A Study of Short Run Biases from Regulation and Utilisation Fluctuations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 390-411, June.
    2. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1988. "Unionized oligopoly and international trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3-4), pages 217-234, May.
    3. Kala Krishna & Kathleen Hogan & Phillip Swagel, 1989. "The Non-Optimality of Optimal Trade Policy: The U.S. Automobile Indust ry Revisited, 1979-1985," NBER Working Papers 3118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jaime De Melo & David Tarr, 2017. "Industrial Policy In The Presence Of Wage Distortions: The Case Of The Us Auto And Steel Industries," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Trade Policies for Development and Transition, chapter 24, pages 575-593 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Lawrence F. Katz & Lawrence H. Summers, 1989. "Can Interindustry Wage Differentials Justify Strategic Trade Policy?," NBER Chapters,in: Trade Policies for International Competitiveness, pages 85-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Brown, James N & Ashenfelter, Orley, 1986. "Testing the Efficiency of Employment Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 40-87, June.
    7. Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-193.
    8. Krishna, Kala, 1989. "Trade restrictions as facilitating practices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 251-270, May.
    9. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    10. Colin Lawrence & Robert Z. Lawrence, 1985. "Manufacturing Wage Dispersion: An End Game Interpretation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 47-116.
    11. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
    12. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-293, March.
    13. MaCurdy, Thomas E & Pencavel, John H, 1986. "Testing between Competing Models of Wage and Employment Determination in Unionized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 3-39, June.
    14. Dani Rodrik, 1987. "Policy Targeting with Endogenous Distortions: Theory of Optimum Subsidy Revisited," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(4), pages 903-911.
    15. Robert W. Crandall, 1987. "The Effects of U.S. Trade Protection for Autos and Steel," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(1), pages 271-288.
    16. Melvyn Fuss & Steven Murphy & Leonard Waverman, 1992. "The State of the North American and Japanese Motor Vehicle Industries: A Partially Calibrated Model to Examine the Impacts of Trade Policy Changes," NBER Working Papers 4225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Kala Krishna & Motoshige Itoh, 1988. "Content Protection and Oligopolistic Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 107-125.
    18. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1990. "Export Subsidies as an Outcome of the Management-Labor Conspiracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 803-813.
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