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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. 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.
  2. Nick Bloom & Ben Eifert & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2010. "Does management matter?: evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36366, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Survival of the best fit: exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20028, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. 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.
  5. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  6. De Locker, Jan & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," Working Papers 09-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  7. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 1996. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Endogenous," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 343-61, July-Aug..
  8. 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.
  9. John Haltiwanger & C J Krizan & Lucia Foster, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons From Microeconomic Evidence," Working Papers 98-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  10. 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.
  11. Johannes van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Productivity Dynamics with Technology Choice: An Application to Automobile Assembly," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 167-198.
  12. 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.
  13. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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.
  15. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2012. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," NBER Working Papers 18041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Chad Syverson, 2010. "What Determines Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 15712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2000. "Measuring Productivity Dynamics with Endogenous Choice of Technology and Capacity Utilization: An Application to Automobile Assembly," Working Papers 00-16, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  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. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2011. "Productivity Dispersion and Plant Selection in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," Working Papers 11-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  20. 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.
  21. 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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