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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. 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.
  2. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007 Elsevier.
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  5. Aubhik Khan & Julia Thomas, 2003. "Inventories and the Business Cycle: An Equilibrium Analysis of (S,s) Policies," NBER Working Papers 10078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wen, Yi, 2001. "Granger Causality and Equilibrium Business Cycle Theory," Working Papers 01-07, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  2. 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).
  3. Bivin, David G., 2008. "Production stability in a supply-chain environment," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 265-275, July.
  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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