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BPEA Article

Industrial Relations and Productivity in the U.S. Automobile Industry

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IN THE LATE 1970s and 1980s intensified international competition in motor vehicle manufacturing and sales was reflected by an increase in the share of the American market captured by imports. Some analysts argued that this increase reflected the low productivity of American automobile producers compared with that of Japanese and other foreign companies. Inflexible work rules or the adversarial nature of labor management relations was often blamed.

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