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The Impacts of a Buy American Steel Policy in Washington State

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Cory Briar, Colin Gibson, Chasya Hoagland - December 2022

The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to study the economic and environmental impacts of a Buy American Steel policy in the state. Such a policy would require that steel used in the fulfillment of Washington State government contracts be partially or exclusively sourced from within the US. This report describes the findings from two economic analyses: a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) and an economic impacts analysis (EIA).

The BCA finds that the increase in cost to taxpayers to carry out projects under a domestic steel requirement would likely exceed new income to workers in the Washington steel industry, but net changes to the state economy would be small. The EIA finds that the requirement would support jobs in the steel industry, but the increased cost to taxpayers would lead to job losses in other sectors. Like the BCA, the net changes predicted by the EIA are small, ranging from a loss of 12 to a gain of 13 jobs per year statewide under a domestic steel requirement.

We also conduct an analysis of how the policy would impact global emissions of greenhouse gases. While the net change in emissions is ambiguous, this analysis suggests that the change in emissions could only range from a decrease of 1.2% to an increase of 1.6% of steel production-generated emissions in Washington.

Report ID: 22-12-4101

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