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Investment Dispersion and the Business Cycle

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  • Rüdiger Bachmann
  • Christian Bayer

Abstract

We document a new business cycle fact: the cross-sectional standard deviation of firm-level investment (investment dispersion) is robustly and significantly procyclical. This makes investment dispersion different from the dispersion of productivity and output growth, which is countercyclical. Investment dispersion is more procyclical in the goods-producing sectors, for smaller firms and for structures. We show that a heterogeneous-firm real business cycle model with countercyclical idiosyncratic firm risk and non-convex adjustment costs calibrated to match moments of the long-run investment rate distribution, produces a time series correlation coefficient between investment dispersion and aggregate output of 0.58, close to the 0.45 in the data. We argue, more generally, that cross-sectional business cycle dynamics impose tight empirical restrictions on the physical environments and the structural parameters of heterogeneous-firm models.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16861.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Publication status: published as R?diger Bachmann & Christian Bayer, 2014. "Investment Dispersion and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(4), pages 1392-1416, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16861

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  1. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," GSIA Working Papers 1997-37, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  2. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  3. Den Haan, Wouter, 2008. "Assessing the Accuracy of the Aggregate Law of Motion in Models with Heterogeneous Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 6971, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  5. von Kalckreuth, Ulf, 2000. "Exploring the role of uncertainty for corporate investment decisions in Germany," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2000,05, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  6. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Salvador Navarro & David Rivers & Amit Gandhi, 2012. "On the Identification of Production Functions: How Heterogeneous is Productivity?," 2012 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  9. Bayer, Christian, 2006. "Investment dynamics with fixed capital adjustment cost and capital market imperfections," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1909-1947, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Verona, Fabio, 2013. "Investment dynamics with information costs," Research Discussion Papers 18/2013, Bank of Finland.
  2. D'Elia, Enrico & Nascia, Leopoldo & Zeli, Alessandro, 2011. "Analisi dei modelli d’impresa: discontinuità e sviluppo
    [Analysing firm's evolution: discontinuity and growth]
    ," MPRA Paper 35926, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Yoonsoo Lee, 2011. "Cross-Sectoral Variation in The Volatility of Plant-Level Idiosyncratic Shocks," NBER Working Papers 17659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joseph S. Vavra, 2013. "Inflation Dynamics and Time-Varying Volatility: New Evidence and an Ss Interpretation," NBER Working Papers 19148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. D'Elia, Enrico, 2011. "A simple model of discontinuous firm’s growth," MPRA Paper 35925, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Laura Veldkamp & Anna Orlik, 2013. "Understanding Uncertainty Shocks," 2013 Meeting Papers 391, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Matthias Kehrig & Nicolas Vincent, 2013. "Financial Frictions and Investment Dynamics in Multi-Plant Firms," Working Papers 13-56, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Roberta Distante & Ivan Petrella & Emiliano Santoro, 2013. "Asymmetry Reversals and the Business Cycle," Working Papers 2013.54, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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