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Modeling inventories over the business cycle

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  • Aubhik Khan
  • Julia K. Thomas

Abstract

We evaluate two leading models of aggregate fluctuations with inventories in general equilibrium: the (S,s) model and the stockout avoidance model. Each is judged by its ability to explain the observed magnitude of inventories in the U.S. economy, alongside other empirical regularities such as the procyclicality of inventory investment and its positive correlation with sales. We find that the (S,s) model is far more consistent with the behavior of aggregate inventories in the postwar U.S. when aggregate fluctuations arise from technology, rather than preference, shocks. The converse holds for the stockout avoidance model. The (S,s) model performs well with respect to the inventory facts and other business cycle regularities. By contrast, the essential risk motive in the stockout avoidance model is insufficient to generate inventory holdings near the data without destroying the model's performance elsewhere, suggesting a fundamental problem in using reduced-form inventory models with stocks rationalized by this motive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 343.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:343

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Keywords: Inventories ; Business cycles;

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  1. James A. Kahn & Mark Bils, 2000. "What Inventory Behavior Tells Us about Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 458-481, June.
  2. Ramey, Valerie A, 1991. "Nonconvex Costs and the Behavior of Inventories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 306-34, April.
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  13. Caplin, Andrew S, 1985. "The Variability of Aggregate Demand with (S, s) Inventory Policies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1395-1409, November.
  14. Aubhik Khan & Julia K. Thomas, 2004. "Inventories and the business cycle: an equilibrium analysis of (S,s) policies," Working Papers 04-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  15. Valerie A. Ramey & Daniel J. Vine, 2004. "Tracking the Source of the Decline in GDP Volatility: An Analysis of the Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 10384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bivin, David G., 2008. "Production stability in a supply-chain environment," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 265-275, July.
  2. Wen, Yi, 2001. "Granger Causality and Equilibrium Business Cycle Theory," Working Papers 01-07, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  3. Marcel Förster, 2013. "The Great Moderation: Inventories, Shocks or Monetary Policy?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201348, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  4. Liu, Wen-Hsien & Chung, Ching-Fan & Chang, Kuang-Liang, 2013. "Inventory change, capacity utilization and the semiconductor industry cycle," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 119-127.

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