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The Antebellum U.S. Iron Industry: Domestic Production and Foreign Competition

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  • Joseph H. Davis
  • Douglas A. Irwin

Abstract

This paper presents new annual estimates of U.S. production of pig iron and imports of pig iron products dating back to 1827. These estimates are used to assess the vulnerability of the antebellum iron industry to foreign competition and the role of the tariff in fostering the industry's early development. Domestic pig iron production is found to be highly sensitive to changes in import prices. Although import price fluctuations had a much greater impact on U.S. production than changes in import duties, our estimates suggest that the tariff permitted domestic output to be about thirty to forty percent larger than it would have been without protection.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph H. Davis & Douglas A. Irwin, 2007. "The Antebellum U.S. Iron Industry: Domestic Production and Foreign Competition," NBER Working Papers 13451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13451
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Joseph Wallis, 2001. "What Caused the Crisis of 1839?," NBER Historical Working Papers 0133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gerrard, W J & Godfrey, L G, 1998. "Diagnostic Checks for Single-Equation Error-Correction and Autoregressive Distributed Lag Models," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 66(2), pages 222-237, March.
    3. Irwin, Douglas A. & Temin, Peter, 2001. "The Antebellum Tariff On Cotton Textiles Revisited," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 777-798, September.
    4. Fogel, Robert W & Engerman, Stanley L, 1969. "A Model for the Explanation of Industrial Expansion during the Nineteenth Century: With an Application to the American Iron Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 306-328, May/June.
    5. Harley, C. Knick, 1992. "International Competitiveness of the Antebellum American Cotton Textile Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(03), pages 559-584, September.
    6. Harley, C. Knick, 2001. "The Antebellum Tariff: Different Products Or Competing Sources? A Comment On Irwin And Temin," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 799-805, September.
    7. Grossman, Gene M., 1986. "Imports as a cause of injury: The case of the U.S. steel industry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3-4), pages 201-223, May.
    8. Calomiris, Charles W. & Hanes, Christopher, 1994. "Consistent Output Series for the Antebellum and Postbellum Periods: Issues and Preliminary Results," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 409-422, June.
    9. Breusch, Trevor S & Wickens, Michael R., 1987. "Dynamic Specification, the Long Run and the Estimation of Transformed Regression Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 154, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Madureira, Nuno Luis, 2012. "The iron industry energy transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 24-34.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N61 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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