Analysis: The Import Tariff On Iron

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The Import Tariff on Iron
The Morrill Tariff of 1861 effectively increase import tariffs in the United States. The tariff was implemented as a result of the start of the Civil War. The tariff increased rates to encourage manufacturers and ensure employment for industrial workers. The iron industry, in particular, was heavily impacted by the increased protection. At the time, the iron industry was an import competing sector. During this time, the demand for domestically produced iron was extremely sensitive to the price of imported iron. However, by the end of the 19th century iron was one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the US. These newly imposed high tariffs were meant to offset increased taxes that were necessary to fund the war.
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iron industry: Domestic production and foreign competition”, Joseph H. Davis and Douglas Irwin discuss the role of import tariffs in the growth of U.S. manufacturing in the antebellum period. This article focuses on whether or not the iron industry could have survived without the import tariff, it “seeks to enhance our understanding of the antebellum iron industry’s vulnerability to foreign competition.” When import duties were raised in 1842 the production of pig iron more than doubled. At this time, imports did not increase; however, they did so rapidly when the tariff was reduced in 1846. “From this point, domestic production collapsed, falling 46 percent from 1847 to 1851, such that the volume of imports actually exceeded domestic production in 1851 and 1852.” In class, we concluded that tariff would cause quantity supplied to increase and imports to decrease. This is exactly what is seen here. When the tariff was higher, domestic firms produced more and imports from foreign firms decreased. The authors concluded that production of iron in the antebellum US was very sensitive to the relative price of imports, as well as domestic demand conditions. He discusses just how sensitive production was, saying slight rises in import prices coincided with increased U.S production. A decrease in import prices, caused domestic producers to suffer. Therefore, from this standpoint the iron industry needed the tariff in order to survive at this time. Unlike the previous, this article, does not consider the fact that iron consuming industries suffered from the tariffs. From these points, the gainers of the tariff were firms within the iron industry, as they enjoyed protection from

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