NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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

Joseph H. Davis, Douglas A. Irwin

NBER Working Paper No. 13451
Issued in September 2007
NBER Program(s):   DAE

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13451

Published: Davis, Joseph H. & Irwin, Douglas A., 2008. "The antebellum U.S. iron industry: Domestic production and foreign competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 254-269, July. citation courtesy of

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