NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Deaths of Manufacturing Plants

Andrew B. Bernard, J. Bradford Jensen

NBER Working Paper No. 9026
Issued in June 2002
NBER Program(s):   ITI   PR

This paper examines the causes of manufacturing plant deaths within and across industries in the U.S. from 1977-1997. The effects of international competition from low wage countries, exporting, ownership structure, product diversity, productivity, geography, and plant characteristics are considered. The probability of shutdowns is higher in industries that face increased competition from low-income countries, especially for low-wage, labor-intensive plants within those industries. Conditional on industry and plant characteristics, closures occur more often at plants that are part of a multi-plant firm and at plants that have recently experienced a change in ownership. Plants owned by U.S. multinationals are more likely to close than similar plants at non-multinational firms. Exits occur less frequently at multi-product plants, at exporters, at plants that pay above average wages, and at large, older, more productive and more capital-intensive plants.

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