Imports as a Cause of Injury: the Case of the U.S. Steel Industry
37 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2001 Last revised: 4 Aug 2010
Date Written: November 1984
Recently, the United States International Trade Commission conducted a Section 201 or "escape clause" hearing to determine whether imports have been the most significant cause of injury to the U.S. steel industry. This paper suggests a methodology for conducting the necessary analysis for such determinations, and applies it to the case of the steel industry. First, a reduced-form equation for steel industry employment is derived and estimated. The equation specifies industry employment as a function of the price of imported steel, the price of energy, the price of iron ore, a time trend, real income and (in one variant) the wage rate in the steel industry. The estimated coefficients are used to perform counter factual simulations, which allow us to attribute changes in industry employment to their proximate causes. The analysis reveals that for the period from 1976 to 1983, a secular shift away from employment in the steel industry has been the most important cause of injury. For the shorter period from 1979 to 1983, secular shift and import competition are roughly equal in importance, with the latter being entirely the result of the substantial appreciation of the U.S. dollar during this period.
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