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The economic performance of cartels: evidence from the New Deal U.S. sugar manufacturing cartel, 1934-74

Author

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  • Benjamin Bridgman
  • Shi Qi
  • James A. Schmitz

Abstract

We study the U.S. sugar manufacturing cartel that was created during the New Deal. This was a legal-cartel that lasted 40 years (1934-74). As a legal-cartel, the industry was assured widespread adherence to domestic and import sales quotas (given it had access to government enforcement powers). But it also meant accepting government-sponsored cartel-provisions. These provisions significantly distorted production at each factory and also where the industry was located. These distortions were reflected in, for example, a declining industry recovery rate, that is, the pounds of white sugar produced per ton of beets. It declined from about 310 pounds in 1934 to 240 pounds in 1974. The cartel provisions also distorted the location of industry. For example, it kept production in California and the Far West. Since the cartel ended in 1974, California's share of sugar production has dropped dramatically.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Bridgman & Shi Qi & James A. Schmitz, 2009. "The economic performance of cartels: evidence from the New Deal U.S. sugar manufacturing cartel, 1934-74," Staff Report 437, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:437
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Lasagni & Annamaria Nifo & Gaetano Vecchione, 2015. "Firm Productivity And Institutional Quality: Evidence From Italian Industry," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(5), pages 774-800, November.
    2. Agostino, Mariarosaria & Nifo, Annamaria & Trivieri, Francesco & Vecchione, Gaetano, 2016. "Total factor productivity heterogeneity: channelling the impact of institutions," MPRA Paper 72759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Benjamin Bridgman & Michael Maio & James A. Schmitz, 2012. "What ever happened to the Puerto Rican sugar manufacturing industry?," Staff Report 477, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    4. Norman Gemmell & Richard Kneller & Danny McGowan & Ismael Sanz, "undated". "Corporate Taxation and Productivity Catch-Up: Evidence from 11 European Countries," Discussion Papers 12/06, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
    5. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    6. Francisco Buera & Benjamin Moll & Yongseok Shin, 2013. "Well-Intended Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 216-230, January.
    7. Van Reenen, John, 2011. "Does competition raise productivity through improving management quality?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 306-316, May.
    8. Schmitz, James A., 2012. "New and Larger Costs of Monopoly and Tariffs," Economic Policy Paper 12-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Gemmell, Norman & Kneller, Richard & McGowan, Danny & Sanz, Ismael & Sanz-Sanz, José F., 2013. "Corporate Taxation and Productivity Catch-Up: Evidence from European firms," Working Paper Series 2705, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    10. A. Nifo & G. Vecchione, 2015. "Measuring Institutional Quality in Italy," Rivista economica del Mezzogiorno, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1-2, pages 157-182.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cartels ; Productivity ; Competition;

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