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The Interest Rate Learning and Inventory Investment

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  • Bartholomew Moore
  • Louis J Maccini
  • Huntley Schaller

Abstract

Economic theory predicts a negative relationship between inventories and the real interest rate, but previous empirical studies (mostly based on the older stock adjustment model) have found little evidence of such a relationship. We derive parametric tests for the role of the interest rate in specifications based on the firm’s optimization problem. These Euler equation and decision rule tests mirror earlier evidence, finding little role for the interest rate. We present a simple and intuitively appealing explanation, based on regime switching in the real interest rate and learning, of why tests based on the stock adjustment model, the Euler equation, and the decision rule ?all of which emphasize short-run fluctuations in inventories and the interest rate ?are unlikely to uncover a relationship. Our analysis suggests that inventories will not respond much to short-run fluctuations in the interest rate, but they should respond to long-run movements (regime shifts; e.g., between low real rates in the 1970s and high rates in the early 1980s). Both simple and sophisticated tests confirm our predictions and show a highly significant long-run relationship between inventories and the interest rate, with an elasticity of about -1.5. Furthermore, a formal model of our explanation yields a distinctive, testable implication. This implication is supported by the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number 512.

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Date of creation: Dec 2002
Date of revision: Apr 2004
Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:512

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Junayed, Sadaquat & Khan, Hashmat, 2009. "Inventory Investment and the Real Interest Rate," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-23, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. Thomas A. Lubik & Wing Leong Teo, 2009. "Inventories and Optimal Monetary Policy," School of Economics Working Papers 2009-33, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  3. Jason Barr, 2011. "Skyscrapers and Skylines: New York and Chicago, 1885-2007," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2011-001, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
  4. Steven J. Davis & James A. Kahn, 2008. "Interpreting the Great Moderation: changes in the volatility of economic activity at the macro and micro Levels," Staff Reports 334, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Schaller, Huntley, 2006. "Econometric Issues in Estimating User Cost Elasticity," Economics Series 194, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  6. Jones, Christopher S. & Tuzel, Selale, 2013. "Inventory investment and the cost of capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(3), pages 557-579.
  7. Daniel Leigh, 2005. "Estimating the Implicit Inflation Target: An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," IMF Working Papers 05/77, International Monetary Fund.

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