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Reallocation and Technology: Evidence from the U.S. Steel Industry

  • Collard-Wexler, Allan
  • De Loecker, Jan

We measure the impact of a drastic new technology for producing steel, the minimill, on the aggregate productivity of U.S. steel producers, using unique plant-level data between 1963 and 2002. We find that the sharp increase in the industry's productivity is linked to this new technology, and operates through two distinct mechanisms. First, minimills displaced the older technology, called vertically integrated production, and this reallocation of output was responsible for a third of the increase in the industry's productivity. Second, increased competition, due to the expansion of minimills, drove a substantial reallocation process within the group of vertically integrated producers, driving a resurgence in their productivity, and consequently of the industry's productivity as a whole.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9331.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9331
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  1. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  2. Tor Jakob Klette & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "The Inconsistency of Common Scales Estimators when Output Prices are Unobserved and Endogenous," Discussion Papers 127, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
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  4. Bruce Blonigen & Benjamin H. Liebman & Justin R. Pierce & Wesley W. Wilson, 2010. "Are All Trade Protection Policies Created Equal? Empirical Evidence for Nonequivalent Market Power Effects of Tariffs and Quotas," NBER Working Papers 16391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Productivity Dynamics with Technology Choice: An Application to Automobile Assembly," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 167-198, January.
  8. Nick Bloom, 2011. "Does management matter?: evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36391, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  10. Allan Collard-Wexler & John Asker & Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Productivity Volatility and the Misallocation of Resources in Developing Economies," Working Papers 11-13, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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  13. Daniel Yi Xu, 2013. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," 2013 Meeting Papers 653, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Mitsukuni Nishida & Amil Petrin & T. Kirk White, 2013. "Are We Undercounting Reallocation's Contribution to Growth?," Working Papers 13-55, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. De Loecker, Jan & Konings, Jozef, 2006. "Job reallocation and productivity growth in a post-socialist economy: Evidence from Slovenian manufacturing," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 388-408, June.
  16. Amil Petrin & James Levinsohn, 2012. "Measuring aggregate productivity growth using plant-level data," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(4), pages 705-725, December.
  17. Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2012. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2437-71, October.
  18. Sharon Oster, 1982. "The Diffusion of Innovation among Steel Firms: The Basic Oxygen Furnace," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 45-56, Spring.
  19. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Raff, Daniel M. G., 1991. "Intra-Industry Heterogeneity and the Great Depression: The American Motor Vehicles Industry, 1929–1935," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 317-331, June.
  20. Ronald Jarmin & Shawn Klimek & Javier Miranda, 2005. "The Role of Retail Chains: National, Regional, and Industry Results," Working Papers 05-30, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  21. Frank Giarratani & Gene Gruver & Randall Jackson, 2007. "Clusters, Agglomeration, and Economic Development Potential: Empirical Evidence Based on the Advent of Slab Casting by U.S. Steel Minimills," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 21(2), pages 148-164, May.
  22. 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," Staff Report 286, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  23. C. Lanier Benkard, 2000. "Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
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