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Reallocation and Learning over the Business Cycle

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  • Fabiano Schivardi

    (Banca d'Italia)

Abstract

I show how cyclical aggregate shocks can stimulate structural reallocation activities, which in turn amplify the effect of the shock. I emphasize the informational aspects related to restructuring activities and their potential interplay with aggregate shocks. Building on work by Caplin and Leahy (1994), I develop a model in which production units are uncertain about the value of staying in the market and learn about it over time in a Bayesian fashion. In addition to their own private assessment, they can also learn from observing other units’ decisions. Given that adjusting is costly, each unit has an incentive to delay action and wait for other players to act in order to make a better informed decision. If delay is more costly in a downturn, a negative aggregate shock can break the inertia and induce the most pessimistic agents to exit. The information released by such actions will induce more action, thus generating a burst in restructuring activities that reinforces the initial effect of the aggregate shock. This process of information accumulation and revelation offers both a powerful amplification mechanism of relatively modest aggregate shocks and a potential explanation of why restructuring tends to be concentrated in recessions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 345.

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Date of creation: Dec 1998
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_345_98

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Web page: http://www.bancaditalia.it
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Keywords: business cycle; business organization learning;

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References

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  1. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1996. "On the Driving Forces Behind Cyclical Movement, in Employment and Job Reallocation," NBER Working Papers 5775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Guiso, Luigi & Schivardi, Fabiano, 1999. "Information Spillover and Factor Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2289, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Schivardi, Fabiano & Schneider, Martin, 2005. "Strategic Experimentation and Disruptive Technological Change," CEPR Discussion Papers 4925, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  5. Schivardi, Fabiano, 2003. "Reallocation and learning over the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 95-111, February.
  6. Vives, X..A., 1995. "Social Learning and Rational Expectations," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 305.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-93, August.
  8. Rob, Rafael, 1991. "Learning and Capacity Expansion under Demand Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 655-75, July.
  9. Horvath, Michael & Schivardi, Fabiano & Woywode, Michael, 2001. "On industry life-cycles: delay, entry, and shakeout in beer brewing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(7), pages 1023-1052, July.
  10. Caplin, A. & Leahy, J., 1992. "Business as Usual, Market Crashes and Wisdom After the Fact," Discussion Papers 1992_18, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  11. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "Gross Job Creation and Destruction: Microeconomic Evidence and Macroeconomic Implications," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 123-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Zeira, Joseph, 1994. "Informational Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 31-44, January.
  13. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  14. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  15. Gale, D. & Chamley, C., 1992. "Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment," Papers 10, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Matthew Doyle, 2010. "Informational externalities, strategic delay, and optimal investment subsidies," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(3), pages 941-966, August.
  2. Schivardi, Fabiano & Torrini, Roberto, 2008. "Identifying the effects of firing restrictions through size-contingent differences in regulation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 482-511, June.
  3. Luigi Guiso & Fabiano Schivardi, 2000. "Information Spillovers and Factor Adjustment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 368, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Luca Pieroni & Fabrizio Pompei, 2007. "Evaluating Innovation and Labour Market Relationships: The Case of Italy," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 28/2007, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  5. Schmoch, Ulrich, 2007. "Double-boom cycles and the comeback of science-push and market-pull," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1000-1015, September.
  6. Schivardi, F., 1998. "Reallocation and Learning Over the Business Cycle," Papers 345, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  7. John Haltiwanger & Steven J. Davis, 1999. "On the Driving Forces behind Cyclical Movements in Employment and Job Reallocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1234-1258, December.
  8. Stefano Siviero & Daniele Terlizzese & Ignazio Visco, 1999. "Are model-based inflation forecasts used in monetary policymaking? A case study," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 357, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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