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

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

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.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2002/CES-WP-02-22.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 02-22.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:02-22
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  1. Hall, Bronwyn H, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 583-606, June.
  2. Bruce A. Blonigen & KaSaundra Tomlin, 1999. "Size and Growth of Japanese Plants in the United States," NBER Working Papers 7275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2002. "The Deaths of Manufacturing Plants," NBER Working Papers 9026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross job creation, gross job destruction and employment reallocation," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2004. "Why Some Firms Export," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 561-569, May.
  7. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Industrial Wage and Employment Determination in an Open Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 235-259 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
  9. Richard B. Freeman, 1982. "Crime and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 1031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  11. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, 07.
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