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

  • 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: ftp://ftp2.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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:10-29
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  3. Førsund, Finn R. & Hjalmarsson, Lennart, 1983. "Technical Progress and Structural Change in the Swedish Cement Industry 1955 - 1979," Working Paper Series 98, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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  7. 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.
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  12. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2004. "Trade, Technology, and Productivity: A Study of Brazilian Manufacturers, 1986-1998," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6m96c2r7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity; Evidence From Indonesia," IMF Working Papers 05/146, International Monetary Fund.
  16. 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.
  17. Jose E. Galdon-Sanchez & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 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.
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  21. 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.
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