The US steel industry experienced a great decline between 1950-1985. Influenced by several government policies, the industry was first cartelized during the great depression and then subjected to an extremely powerful organized labor force. Due to high demand between and during WWII and the Korean War, the industry expanded capacity using existing technologies. Simultaneously, organized labor was able to secure increased wages and large severance costs for firms that decided to shutdown existing steel mills. In the post war years this prevented firms from innovating through investing in newer, more efficient, technologies. Eventually US steel firms had no advantage against foreign producers who could produce steel cheaper and more efficiently.
- Corrosion of the US Steel Industry: Macroeconomic Competition and Productivity
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