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The Eclipse of the U.S. Tire Industry


  • Raghuram Rajan
  • Paolo Volpin
  • Luigi Zingales


This paper undertakes an in-depth analysis of the tire industry over the period 1970-1990. It attempts to uncover the causes and consequences of the acquisition activity in the industry in the 1980’s, which resulted in all but one large U.S. tire manufacturer being sold to foreign companies. We do not find that ownership was acquired by firms more efficient at managing the existing plants. Nor were the takeovers undertaken in response to the failure of internal control systems to induce downsizing. The most likely explanation is that the acquisitions were driven by an increase in cross-border production and trade by automobile manufacturers. This increased the need for cross-border production by the tire manufacturers that, in a slow growth industry, could only happen through acquisitions. U.S. manufacturers became the natural targets of this wave of acquisitions because they had delayed investment in the radial technology and, thus, had high costs of staying in the industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Raghuram Rajan & Paolo Volpin & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "The Eclipse of the U.S. Tire Industry," Working Papers 97-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:97-13

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw & Giovanna Prennushi, 1995. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
    6. Barron, John M & Bishop, John & Dunkelberg, William C, 1985. "Employer Search: The Interviewing and Hiring of New Employees," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 43-52, February.
    7. Barron, John M & Gilley, Otis W, 1981. "Job Search and Vacancy Contacts: Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 747-752, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Baker, Malcolm & Pan, Xin & Wurgler, Jeffrey, 2012. "The effect of reference point prices on mergers and acquisitions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 49-71.


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