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Competition and Productivity: Evidence from the Post WWII U.S. Cement Industry

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy Dunne
  • Shawn Klimek
  • James Schmitz, Jr.

Abstract

In the mid 1980s, the U.S. cement industry faced a large increase in foreign competition. Foreign cement producers began offering cement at very large discounts on U.S. prices. We show that productivity (measured by TFP) in the industry was falling during the 1960s and 1970s, but that following the increase in competition, productivity has reversed course and is growing strongly. When foreign competition was weak, productivity fell. When it was strong, productivity grew robustly. We explore the reasons for the large productivity increase. We argue that a large share of the productivity gains resulted from significant changes in management practices at plants.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Dunne & Shawn Klimek & James Schmitz, Jr., 2010. "Competition and Productivity: Evidence from the Post WWII U.S. Cement Industry," Working Papers 10-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:10-29
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2010/CES-WP-10-29.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nicholas Bloom & Mirko Draca & John Van Reenen, 2016. "Trade Induced Technical Change? The Impact of Chinese Imports on Innovation, IT and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 87-117.
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    8. Thomas J. Holmes & David K. Levine & James A. Schmitz, 2012. "Monopoly and the Incentive to Innovate When Adoption Involves Switchover Disruptions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 1-33, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Bloom & Mirko Draca & John Van Reenen, 2016. "Trade Induced Technical Change? The Impact of Chinese Imports on Innovation, IT and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 87-117.
    2. Sanghamitra Das & Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-Owned Industry," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 136-162, January.
    3. Sungwon Lee & Young Lee, 2014. "Stochastic frontier models with threshold efficiency," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 45-54, August.
    4. Thomas J. Holmes & David K. Levine & James A. Schmitz, 2012. "Monopoly and the Incentive to Innovate When Adoption Involves Switchover Disruptions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 1-33, August.
    5. Carlos Lamarche, 2013. "Industry-wide work rules and productivity: evidence from Argentine union contract data," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-25, December.
    6. Van Reenen, John, 2011. "Does competition raise productivity through improving management quality?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 306-316, May.
    7. James A. Schmitz, 2012. "New and larger costs of monopoly and tariffs," Staff Report 468, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    8. Simeon Alder & David Lagakos & Lee Ohanian, 2014. "Competitive Pressure and the Decline of the Rust Belt: A Macroeconomic Analysis," NBER Working Papers 20538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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