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Inventory (Dis)Investment, Internal Finance Fluctuations, and the Business Cycle

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Author Info

  • Robert E. Carpenter

    (Emory University)

  • Steven M. Fazzari

    (Washington University and the Jerome Levy Economics Insititute)

  • Bruce C. Petersen

    (Washington University)

Abstract

A well-known but under-emphasized feature of the business cycle is that the flow of internal finance is highly procyclical. We argue that finance constraints lead firms to offset a large proportion of internal finance fluctuations through inventory (dis)investment. We construct three panels of quarterly firm data, each of which contains a large fraction of aggregate inventories and covers a major inventory cycle. Our findings show that the impact of internal finance on inventory investment is greater for small firms than large, consistent with the existence of finance constraints. Internal finance, however, is also economically important for large firms. These results explain part of the large cyclical amplitude of inventory investment. Furthermore, heterogeneity in our results across time, especially between the 1981-82 recession and the 1990-91 recession, helps explain differences in the composition of aggregate investment shortfalls during contractions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9401001.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 12 Jan 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9401001

Note: 2 word for windows binary files. File 1 has 29 pages text with one table enclosed. File 2 has 5 tables in 4 pages. 3 figures accompany this paper but are not enclosed. They are available upon request from Carpenter
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  1. Krane, Spencer D & Braun, Stephen N, 1991. "Production Smoothing Evidence from Physical-Product Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 558-81, June.
  2. Anil K. Kashyap & Owen A. Lamont & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Credit conditions and the cyclical behavior of inventories," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 93-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. George L. Perry & Charles L. Schultze, 1993. "Was This Recession Different? Are They All Different?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 145-212.
  4. Donald P. Morgan, 1991. "Will just-in-time inventory techniques dampen recessions?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Mar, pages 21-33.
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  7. Alan S. Blinder, 1983. "Inventories and Sticky Prices: More on the Microfoundations of Macroeconomics," NBER Working Papers 0620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ramey, Valerie A, 1989. "Inventories as Factors of Production and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 338-54, June.
  9. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
  10. R. Glenn Hubbard & Anil K. Kashyap, 1991. "Internal net worth and the investment process: an application to U.S. agriculture," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. Jeffrey A. Miron & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1989. "Seasonality, Cost Shocks, and the Production Smoothing Model of Inventories," NBER Working Papers 2360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Dufour, Jean-Marie, 1993. "The importance of seasonality in inventory models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1-2), pages 129-133.
  15. Michael Devereux & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1990. "Investment, Financial Factors, and Cash Flow: Evidence from U.K. Panel Data," NBER Chapters, in: Asymmetric Information, Corporate Finance, and Investment, pages 279-306 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gertler, M. & Gilchrist, S., 1992. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," Working Papers 92-08, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  17. Ray C. Fair, 1989. "The Production Smoothing Model Is Alive and Well," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 896, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  18. Blinder, Alan S & Maccini, Louis J, 1991. " The Resurgence of Inventory Research: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(4), pages 291-328.
  19. Kahn, James A, 1987. "Inventories and the Volatility of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 667-79, September.
  20. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Eichenbaum, Martin, 1989. "Some Empirical Evidence on the Production Level and Production Cost Smoothing Models of Inventory Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 853-64, September.
  22. Calomiris, Charles W & Hubbard, R Glenn, 1990. "Firm Heterogeneity, Internal Finance, and 'Credit Rationing.'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 90-104, March.
  23. Zarnowitz, Victor, 1992. "Business Cycles," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226978901, September.
  24. Lucas, Robert E., 1977. "Understanding business cycles," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 7-29, January.
  25. Whited, Toni M., 1991. "Investment and financial asset accumulation," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 307-334, December.
  26. Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1991. "Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, Winter.
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