The determinants of business investment: has capital spending been surprisingly low?
AbstractMany are worried that since 1980 capital investment by businesses has been lower than expected. Unusual circumstances, such as changes in savings patterns or in business leverage, a credit crunch, or widespread adoption of a shorter-term outlook, have been suggested as culprits. To see whether investment spending has indeed departed from its traditional determinants, this article compares capital spending during the 1980s and early 1990s with projections of spending derived from historical relationships between investment and various measures of economic activity. ; The results show that capital investment has not been low for any surprising reasons; in general, business investment has adhered fairly well to its historical correspondence with output, profits, and the cost of capital. Investment in equipment behaved as the models predicted, while investment in nonresidential structures exceeded the models’ forecasts in the early eighties, in large part as a result of the construction of oil rigs and a commercial real estate boom. The author concludes that the disappointing volume of capital investment by businesses of late is a symptom of slow economic growth, not exceptional impediments.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its journal New England Economic Review.
Volume (Year): (1993)
Issue (Month): Jan ()
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Fisher, Franklin M, 1969. "The Existence of Aggregate Production Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(4), pages 553-77, October.
- William D. Nordhaus & James Tobin, 1972.
"Is Growth Obsolete?,"
in: Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect Vol 5: Economic Growth, pages 1-80
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hayashi, Fumio, 1982.
"Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation,"
Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-24, January.
- Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Christopher A. Sims, 1982. "Policy Analysis with Econometric Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 107-164.
- Pindyck, Robert S, 1991.
"Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-48, September.
- Robert S. Pindyck, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 3307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pindyck, Robert S., 1990. "Irreversibility, uncertainty, and investment," Working papers 3137-90., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Pindyck, Robert, 1989. "Irreversibility, uncertainty, and investment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 294, The World Bank.
- Morrison, Catherine J, 1992. "Unraveling the Productivity Growth Slowdown in the United States, Canada and Japan: The Effects of Subequilibrium, Scale Economies and Markups," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 381-93, August.
- Blackorby, Charles & Schworm, William, 1988. "The Existence of Input and Output Aggregates in Aggregate Production Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 613-43, May.
- Plosser, Charles I, 1989.
"Understanding Real Business Cycles,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 51-77, Summer.
- Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
- Kiviet, Jan F & Kramer, Walter, 1992. "Bias of SDE 2 in the Linear Regression Model with Correlated Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 362-65, May.
- Balasko, Yves, 1984. "The Size of Dynamic Econometric Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 123-41, January.
- Barry P. Bosworth, 1985. "Taxes and the Investment Recovery," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 1-45.
- Gordon, Robert J, 1990. "What Is New-Keynesian Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1115-71, September.
- Paul A. Samuelson, 1964. "Tax Deductibility of Economic Depreciation to Insure Invariant Valuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 604.
- Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1994. "Inventory (Dis)Investment, Internal Finance Fluctuations, and the Business Cycle," Macroeconomics 9401001, EconWPA.
- Jones, John Bailey, 2002.
"Has fiscal policy helped stabilize the postwar U.S. economy?,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 709-746, May.
- John Bailey Jones, 1999. "Has Fiscal Policy Helped Stabilize the Postwar U.S. Economy?," Discussion Papers 99-03, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
- Alejandro Diaz-Bautista & Julio R. Escandon, 2003. "A Simple Dynamic Model of Credit and Aggregate Demand," Macroeconomics 0308001, EconWPA.
- Stevans, Lonnie K., 2012. "Income inequality and economic incentives: Is there an equity–efficiency tradeoff?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 149-160.
- Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1995. "Three Financing Constraint Hypotheses and Inventory Investment: New Tests With Time and Sectoral Heterogeneity," Macroeconomics 9510001, EconWPA, revised 09 Oct 1995.
- Sylvain Martel, 2005. "Y a-t-il eu surinvestissement au Canada durant la seconde moitié des années 1990?," Working Papers 05-5, Bank of Canada.
- Lynn Elaine Browne & Rebecca Hellerstein, 1997. "Are we investing too little?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 29-50.
- Lindstrom, Tomas, 1998. "A fuzzy design of the willingness to invest in Sweden," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-17, July.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Spozio).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.