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

Listed author(s):
  • Timothy Dunne
  • Shawn Klimek
  • James Schmitz, Jr.

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.

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File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2010/CES-WP-10-29.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 10-29.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:10-29
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  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. Kumbhakar, Subal C & Heshmati, Almas & Hjalmarsson, Lennart, 1999. " Parametric Approaches to Productivity Measurement: A Comparison among Alternative Models," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(3), pages 405-424, September.
  3. Hay, Donald A, 2001. "The Post-1990 Brazilian Trade Liberalisation and the Performance of Large Manufacturing Firms: Productivity, Market Share and Profits," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 620-641, July.
  4. Jose E. Galdon Sanchez & James A. Schmitz, 2003. "Competitive pressure and labor productivity: world iron ore markets in the 1980s," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 9-23.
  5. Nicholas Bloom & Benn Eifert & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2013. "Does Management Matter? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 1-51.
  6. Victor Gomes & Arilton Teixeira & Benjamin Bridgman, 2008. "The Threat of Competition Enhances Productivity," 2008 Meeting Papers 302, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Fernandes, Ana M., 2007. "Trade policy, trade volumes and plant-level productivity in Colombian manufacturing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 52-71, March.
  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.
  9. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
  10. Forsund, Finn R & Hjalmarsson, Lennart, 1983. "Technical Progress and Structural Change in the Swedish Cement Industry 1955-1979," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1449-1467, September.
  11. Hector Perez-Saiz, 2010. "Building New Plants or Entering by Acquisition? Estimation of an Entry Model for the U.S. Cement Industry," Working Papers 10-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  12. Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2004. "Trade, Technology, and Productivity: A Study of Brazilian Manufacturers, 1986-1998," CESifo Working Paper Series 1148, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Kumbhakar, Subal C. & Heshmati, Almas & Hjalmarsson, Lennart, 1997. "Temporal patterns of technical efficiency: Results from competing models," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 597-616, August.
  14. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2006. "Plant Turnover and Demand Fluctuations in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," Working Papers 06-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, 2001. "Competition at work : railroads vs. monopoly in the U.S. shipping industry," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-29.
  16. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1611-1638, December.
  17. Petia Topalova & Amit Khandelwal, 2011. "Trade Liberalization and Firm Productivity: The Case of India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 995-1009, August.
  18. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
  19. Alberto Salvo, 2010. "Inferring market power under the threat of entry: the case of the Brazilian cement industry," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(2), pages 326-350.
  20. Das, Sanghamitra, 1991. "Estimation of Fuel Coefficients of Cement Production: A Fixed-Effects Approach to Nonlinear Regression," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(4), pages 469-474, October.
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