Rational Atrophy: The US Steel Industry
NBER Working Paper No. 6084
During the seventies and eighties the US steel industry received trade protection. However, these rents were not used to improve competitiveness. Instead, they were reflected in higher wages and a greater share of profits invested in sectors not related to steel. Moreover, the steel industry failed to adopt technological innovations on a timely basis and was displaced by the minimills. We rationalize these puzzling outcomes using a dynamic game between workers and firms.