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Is lumpy investment relevant for the business cycle?

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  • Julia K. Thomas

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that discrete and occasional plant-level capital adjustments have significant aggregate implications. In particular, it has been argued that changes in plants? willingness to invest in response to aggregate shocks can at times generate large movements in total investment demand. In this study, I re-assess these predictions in a general equilibrium environment. Specifically, assuming nonconvex costs of capital adjustment, I derive generalized (S,s) adjustment rules yielding lumpy plant-level investment within an otherwise standard equilibrium business cycle model. In contrast to previous partial equilibrium analyses, model results reveal that the aggregate effects of lumpy investment are negligible. In general equilibrium, households? preference for relatively smooth consumption profiles offsets changes in aggregate investment demand implied by the introduction of lumpy plant-level investment. As a result, adjustments in wages and interest rates yield quantity dynamics that are virtually indistinguishable from the standard model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 302.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:302

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Keywords: Business cycles ; Investments;

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  1. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1994. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 94-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  3. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
  4. Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1996. "Tax Policy and Investment," NBER Working Papers 5683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "State-Dependent Pricing And The General Equilibrium Dynamics Of Money And Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 655-690, May.
  9. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1996. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," Documentos de Trabajo 12, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
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  14. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1999. "Aggregate investment," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 813-862 Elsevier.
  15. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1991. "Dynamic (S,s) Economies," NBER Working Papers 3734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
  18. Fisher, J.D.M. & Hornstein, A., 1995. "(S,s)Inventory Policies in General Equilibrium," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9514, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  19. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1998. "Business Cycle Fluctuations in U.S. Macroeconomic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 6528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Ricardo J. Caballero & John V. Leahy, 1996. "Fixed Costs: The Demise of Marginal q," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1765, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  1. Quantitative Macroeconomics and Real Business Cycles (QM&RBC)

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