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Survival of the Best Fit: Competition from Low Wage Countries and the (Uneven) Growth of U.S. Manufacturing Plants

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  • Andrew B Bernard
  • J. Bradford Jensen
  • Peter K Schott

Abstract

We examine the relationship between import competition from low wage countries and the reallocation of US manufacturing from 1977 to 1997. Both employment and output growth are slower for plants that face higher levels of low wage import competition in their industry. As a result, US manufacturing is reallocated over time towards industries that are more capital and skill intensive. Differential growth is driven by a combination of increased plant failure rates and slower growth of surviving plants. Within industries, low wage import competition has the strongest effects on the least capital and skill intensive plants. Surviving plants that switch industries move into more capital and skill intensive sectors when they face low wage competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K Schott, 2002. "Survival of the Best Fit: Competition from Low Wage Countries and the (Uneven) Growth of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 02-22, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:02-22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Swenson, Deborah L., 2005. "Overseas assembly and country sourcing choices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 107-130, May.
    2. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Product Choice and Product Switching," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm381, Yale School of Management.
    3. Nan Nan Lundin, 2004. "Has Import Disciplined Swedish Manufacturing Firms in the 1990s?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 109-133, June.
    4. Alejandro Cuñat & Marco Maffezzoli, "undated". "Trade Integration and Growth," Working Papers 220, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    5. J. Bradford Jensen & Lori G. Kletzer, 2005. "Tradable Services: Understanding the Scope and Impact of Services Outsourcing," Working Paper Series WP05-9, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    6. Alla Lileeva, 2008. "Trade liberalization and productivity dynamics: evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 360-390, May.
    7. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
    8. Gu, Wulong & Sawchuk, Gary, 2006. "Comment les regions du Canada s'adaptent-elles a un marche nord-americain plus grand et plus integre?," Serie de documents de recherche sur l'analyse economique (AE) 2006039f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    9. Bruce A. Blonigen & Lindsay Oldenski & Nicholas Sly, 2011. "Separating the Opposing Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties," NBER Working Papers 17480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Gu, Wulong & Sawchuk, Gary, 2006. "How Are Canadian Regions Adjusting to a Larger and More Integrated North American Market?," Economic Analysis (EA) Research Paper Series 2006039e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    11. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "U.S. Imports, Exports, and Tariff Data, 1989-2001," NBER Working Papers 9387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Lileeva, Alla, 2008. "Dynamique de la liberalisation des echanges et de la productivite : un eclairage canadien," Serie de documents de recherche sur l'analyse economique (AE) 2008051f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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