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

  • Allan Collard-Wexler

    (New York University)

  • Jan De Loecker

    (Princeton University)

This paper studies the role of technology and competition in industry-wide productivity growth. We rely on a unique producer-level dataset covering U.S. steel producers between 1963 and 2002 to measure the impact of a drastic new production technology, the minimill, on aggregate productivity. In addition we trace out its associated impact on productivity and market power through increased competition as measured by the reshuffling of market shares over time and across producers. We provide direct evidence that technological change can itself bring about a process of resource reallocation over a long period of time and lead to substantial productivity growth for the industry as a whole. More specifically, we find that the introduction of a new production technology spurred productivity growth through two channels. First, the entry of minimills lead to a slow but steady drop in the market share of the incumbent technology, the vertically integrated producers. Second, while the new technology started out with a significant productivity premium, by the end of the sample minimills and vertically integrated producers are very similar in terms of efficiency. This catching-up process of the incumbents came about from a large within reallocation of resources among vertically integrated plants.

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File URL: http://www.princeton.edu/ceps/workingpapers/230deloecker.pdf
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1402.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:230deloecker
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  1. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. De Loecker, Jan & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Markups and Firm-level Export Status," CEPR Discussion Papers 7450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Nicholas Bloom & David McKenzie, 2010. "Does Management Matter? Evidence From India," Discussion Papers 10-014, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  5. Tor Jakob Klette & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "The Inconsistency of Common Scales Estimators when Output Prices are Unobserved and Endogenous," Discussion Papers 127, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  6. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2010. "Productivity Dispersion and Plant Selection in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," 2010 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford & Schott, Peter K., 2006. "Survival of the best fit: Exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 219-237, January.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Edmond, Chris & Midrigan, Virgiliu & Xu, Daniel Yi, 2013. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," Economics Series 299, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  11. 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.
  12. Asker, John & Collard-Wexler, Allan & De Loecker, Jan, 2011. "Productivity volatility and the misallocation of resources in developing economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 8469, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-65, June.
  15. 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.
  16. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C.J. Krizan, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
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