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How Did the United States Become a Net Exporter of Manufactured Goods?

  • Douglas A. Irwin

The United States became a net exporter of manufactured goods around 1910 after a dramatic surge in iron and steel exports began in the mid-1890s. This paper argues that natural resource abundance fueled the expansion of iron and steel exports in part by enabling a sharp reduction in the price of U.S. exports relative to other competitors. The commercial exploitation of the Mesabi iron ore range, for example, reduced domestic ore prices by 60 percent in the mid-1890s and was equivalent to nearly 30 years of industry productivity growth in its effect on iron and steel export prices. The results are consistent with Wright's (1990) finding that U.S. manufactured exports were natural resource intensive at this time and have implications for recent work suggesting that resource abundance may be a curse rather than a blessing for economic development.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7638.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7638.

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Date of creation: Apr 2000
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7638
Note: DAE ITI
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  1. Mikesell, Raymond F, 1997. "Explaining the resource curse, with special reference to mineral-exporting countries," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 191-199, December.
  2. Anderson, Kym, 1997. "Are Resource-Abundant Economies Disadvantaged?," 1997 Conference (41st), January 22-24, 1997, Gold Coast, Australia 135403, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  3. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Papers 517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  4. Robert E. Lipsey, 1963. "Price and Quantity Trends in the Foreign Trade of the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lips63-1, June.
  5. Irwin, Douglas A & Kroszner, Randall S, 1999. "Interests, Institutions, and Ideology in Securing Policy Change: The Republican Conversion to Trade Liberalization after Smoot-Hawley," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 643-73, October.
  6. Head, Keith, 1994. "Infant industry protection in the steel rail industry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3-4), pages 141-165, November.
  7. Reinert, Kenneth A. & Roland-Holst, David W., 1992. "Armington elasticities for United States manufacturing sectors," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 631-639, October.
  8. Parsons, Donald O & Ray, Edward John, 1975. "The United States Steel Consolidation: The Creation of Market Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 181-219, April.
  9. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, June.
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