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Declining Volatility in the U.S. Automobile Industry

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  • Daniel J. Vine
  • Valerie A. Ramey

Abstract

Dramatic changes in the volatility of output occurred in the U.S. auto industry in the early 1980s. Namely, output volatility declined, the covariance of inventory investment and sales grew more negative, and adjustments to production schedules, which in earlier decades stemmed primarily from plants hiring and laying off workers, were more often accomplished with changes in average hours per worker after the mid- 1980s. Using a linear quadratic inventory model with intensive and extensive labor adjustments, we show how all of these changes could have stemmed from one underlying factor?a decline in the persistence of motor vehicle sales. (JEL G31, L25, L62, M11)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1876-1889

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:5:p:1876-1889

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.5.1876
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  1. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  2. George J. Hall, 1997. "Non-Convex Costs and Capital Utilization: A Study of Production Scheduling at Automobile Assembly Plants," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1169, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1998. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Staff Reports 41, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Valerie A. Ramey & Daniel J. Vine, 2005. "Tracking the source of the decline in GDP volatility: an analysis of the automobile industry," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Aizcorbe, Ana M, 1992. "Procyclical Labour Productivity, Increasing Returns to Labour and Labour Hoarding in Car Assembly Plant Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(413), pages 860-73, July.
  6. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1982. "The Production and Inventory Behavior of the American Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 0891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1992. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," NBER Working Papers 4105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ramey, Valerie A. & West, Kenneth D., 1999. "Inventories," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 863-923 Elsevier.
  9. James A. Kahn & Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2002. "On the causes of the increased stability of the U.S. economy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 183-202.
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