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Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories

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  • Alan S. Blinder
  • Louis J. Maccini

Abstract

Empirical and theoretical aspects of inventory behavior became hot topics in the 1950s and early 1960s. No one seemed to notice the tension that was developing between the emerging macroeconomic and microeconomic views of inventories. Macroeconomists routinely thought of inventories as a destabilizing factor, yet the prevailing micro theory viewed inventories as a stabilizing factor. It was a fascinating question that was barely explored. Instead somewhat inexplicably, interest in inventories dried up, as if inventories were of minor economic significance and little intrinsic interest. By the early 1980s, then, economists once again knew something they had known in the 1950s: that inventory investment is of first-order importance in business cycles. But they were also beginning to realize that the standard production-smoothing/buffer-stock model of inventories was in deep trouble. This paper focuses on developments since that realization.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.5.1.73
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 5 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 73-96

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:1:p:73-96

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.1.73
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  1. Maccini, Louis J & Rossana, Robert J, 1984. "Joint Production, Quasi-Fixed Factors of Production, and Investement in Finished Goods Inventories," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(2), pages 218-36, May.
  2. Fair, Ray C., 1989. "The production-smoothing model is alive and well," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 353-370, November.
  3. Haltiwanger, John C & Maccini, Louis J, 1988. "A Model of Inventory and Layoff Behaviour under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(392), pages 731-45, September.
  4. repec:fth:coluec:465 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Maccini, Louis J, 1976. "An Aggregate Dynamic Model of Short-Run Price and Output Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 177-96, May.
  6. Irvine, F Owen, Jr, 1981. "Retail Inventory Investment and the Cost of Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 633-48, September.
  7. Kahn, James A, 1987. "Inventories and the Volatility of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 667-79, September.
  8. Blinder, Alan S, 1986. "Can the Production Smoothing Model of Inventory Behavior Be Saved?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 431-53, August.
  9. Bertola, G. & Caballero, R.J., 1990. "Kinked Adjustment Costs And Aggregate Dynamics," Discussion Papers 1990_20, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  10. Eichenbaum, Martin, 1989. "Some Empirical Evidence on the Production Level and Production Cost Smoothing Models of Inventory Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 853-64, September.
  11. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1983. "The Production and Inventory Behavior of the American Automobile Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 365-400, June.
  12. Zabel, Edward, 1972. "Multiperiod monopoly under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 524-536, December.
  13. Eichenbaum, Martin S., 1984. "Rational expectations and the smoothing properties of inventories of finished goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 71-96, July.
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