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Labor Rents, Ajustment Costs, and the Cost of U.S. Steel Trade Restraints in the 1980s


  • Robert E. Scott

    (University of Maryland)

  • Robert A. Blecker

    (The American University)


Recent studies have compared labor losses in import-competing industries with the costs of protection and found that those losses are not large enough to justify trade restraints. This study develops a new technique for estimating the costs and benefits of protection and provides a complete accounting of labor losses related to imports, including labor rents, unemployment costs and labor force dropouts. We find that a small steel tariff or auction quota could have generated net welfare gains for the U.S. in the 1980s, even though actual protection through Voluntary Restraint Agreements generated net welfare losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Scott & Robert A. Blecker, 1996. "Labor Rents, Ajustment Costs, and the Cost of U.S. Steel Trade Restraints in the 1980s," International Trade 9604001, EconWPA, revised 25 Apr 1996.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:9604001
    Note: Type of Document - WordPerfect; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP; pages: 32 ; figures: included

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    Steel industry; U.S. trade policy; labor rents; protection;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • L61 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Metals and Metal Products; Cement; Glass; Ceramics

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