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Fixed Costs: The Demise of Marginal q

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • John V. Leahy

Abstract

The standard version of q theory, in which investment is positively related to marginal q, breaks down in the presence of fixed costs of adjustment. With fixed costs, investment is a non-monotonic function of q. Therefore its inverse, which is the traditional investment function, does not exist. Depending upon auxiliary assumptions, the correlation between investment and marginal q can be either positive or negative. Given certain homogeneity assumptions, a version of the theory based on average q still holds, although under the same assumptions profits and sales perform as well as average q. More generally, q is no longer a sufficient statistic.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5508.

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Date of creation: Mar 1996
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5508

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  1. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper & Laura Power, 1999. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 921-946, September.
  2. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-24, January.
  3. Mark E. Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1998. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 409-429, April.
  4. Robert P. Flood & Peter M. Garber, 1989. "The Linkage Between Speculative Attack and Target Zone Models of Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 2918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Simon Gilchrist & Charles P. Himmelberg, 1995. "Evidence on the Role of Cash Flow for Investment," Working Papers 95-01, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  6. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-73, March.
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