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The Business Cycle, Financial Performance, and the Retirement of Capital Goods

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  • Austan Goolsbee

Abstract

The neoclassical investment literature assumes that capital is homogenous, lives forever and has a constant depreciation rate. More recent theories of investment have shown that when there are distinct capital vintages with embodied technologies, depreciation and capital retirement become economic decisions and this raises important problems with existing empirical work. Direct testing of these issues, however, has been rare because of the lack of micro data. This paper uses new data on the service lives of individual capital goods in the airline industry to empirically examine the impact that economic factors have on capital retirement. The results strongly support the view that retirement is fundamentally an economic decision. Retirement is much more likely in recessions, when the cost of capital is low, or when a firm has good financial performance. Factor prices and industry regulation are also important. Since many of these factors also influence capital expenditures, the results imply that estimates from the conventional investment literature such as the effect of the cost of capital or financial performance may substantially overstate the case since their impact on net investment may be much more modest than their impact on gross investment. The results also have implications for the measurement of productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6392.

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Date of creation: Feb 1998
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Publication status: published as Review of Economic Dynamics, Vol. 1, no. 2 (April 1998): 474-496.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6392

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  1. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1996. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," RCER Working Papers 420, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Martin Neil Baily, 1981. "Productivity and the Services of Capital and Labor," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 1-66.
  3. Caballero, R.J. & Hammour, M.L., 1991. "The Cleansing Effect of Recessions," Discussion Papers 1991_59, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1986. "Econometric analysis of longitudinal data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1689-1763 Elsevier.
  5. Sueyoshi, Glenn T., 1992. "Semiparametric proportional hazards estimation of competing risks models with time-varying covariates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 25-58.
  6. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "The Aggregate Implications of Machine Replacement: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Thomas F. Cooley & Jeremy Greenwood & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 1994. "The replacement problem," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 95, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Feldstein, Martin S & Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Towards an Economic Theory of Replacement Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(3), pages 393-423, May.
  9. Han, Aaron & Hausman, Jerry A, 1990. "Flexible Parametric Estimation of Duration and Competing Risk Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, January-M.
  10. Susanto Basu, 1995. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," NBER Working Papers 5336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "Investment Tax Incentives, Prices, And The Supply Of Capital Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 121-148, February.
  12. Boddy, Raford & Gort, Michael, 1971. "The Substitution of Capital for Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(2), pages 179-88, May.
  13. Feldstein, Martin S & Foot, David K, 1971. "The Other Half of Gross Investment: Replacement and Modernization Expenditures," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(1), pages 49-58, February.
  14. Peter Klenow, 1998. "Learning Curves and the Cyclical Behavior of Manufacturing Industries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 531-550, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Bruno de Oliveira Cruz & Aude Pommeret, 2006. "Irreversible Investment With Embodied Technological Progress," Discussion Papers 1171, Instituto de Pesquisa EconĂ´mica Aplicada - IPEA.
  2. Fagiolo G. & Roventini A., 2004. "Animal Spirits, Lumpy Investment, and the Business Cycle," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 109, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Karl Whelan, 2000. "Computers, obsolescence, and productivity," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "Taxes and the Quality of Capital," NBER Working Papers 6731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
  6. Gavazza, Alessandro, 2010. "Asset liquidity and financial contracts: Evidence from aircraft leases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 62-84, January.
  7. Dosi, Giovanni & Fagiolo, Giorgio & Roventini, Andrea, 2010. "Schumpeter meeting Keynes: A policy-friendly model of endogenous growth and business cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1748-1767, September.
  8. Antonio R. Sampayo & Luis A. Puch & Omar Licandro, 2006. "Secondhand market and the lifetime of durable goods," Working Papers 2006-10, FEDEA.
  9. Giovanni Dosi & Giorgio Fagiolo & Andrea Roventini, 2005. "Animal Spirits, Lumpy Investment, and Endogenous Business Cycles," LEM Papers Series 2005/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  10. Mauro Napoletano & Giovanni Dosi & Giorgio Fagiolo & Andrea Roventini, 2012. "Wage formation investment behavior and growth regimes: an agent-based analysis," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/f4rshpf3v1u, Sciences Po.
  11. Mullen, J. K. & Williams, Martin, 2004. "Maintenance and repair expenditures: determinants and tradeoffs with new capital goods," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 483-499.
  12. Ian Sue Wing, 2005. "The Synthesis of Bottom-Up and Top-Down Approaches to Climate Policy Modeling: Electric Power Technologies and the Cost of Limiting U.S. CO2 Emissions," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 21, Society for Computational Economics.
  13. Stephen L. Parente, 2000. "Learning-by-Using and the Switch to Better Machines," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 675-703, October.
  14. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/f4rshpf3v1umfa09l8sci08kj is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Giovanni Dosi & Giorgio Fagiolo & Andrea Roventini, 2006. "An Evolutionary Model of Endogenous Business Cycles," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 3-34, February.
  16. Sandra Martina Leitner, 2008. "Interrelatedness, Dynamic Factor Adjustment Patterns and Firm Heterogeneity in Austrian Manufacturing," Economics working papers 2008-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

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