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Investment Dispersion and the Business Cycle

  • R?diger Bachmann
  • Christian Bayer

The cross-sectional dispersion of firm-level investment rates is procyclical. This makes investment rates different from productivity, output, and employment growth, which have countercyclical dispersions. A calibrated heterogeneous-firm business cycle model with nonconvex capital adjustment costs and countercyclical dispersion of firm-level productivity shocks replicates these facts and produces a correlation between investment dispersion and aggregate output of 0.53, close to 0.45 in the data. We find that small shocks to the dispersion of productivity, which in the model constitutes firm risk, suffice to generate the mildly procyclical investment dispersion in the data but do not produce serious business cycles.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 104 (2014)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 1392-1416

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:4:p:1392-1416
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.4.1392
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  1. 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.
  2. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ulf von Kalckreuth, 2003. "Exploring the role of uncertainty for corporate investment decisions in Germany," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 139(II), pages 173-206, June.
  5. Krusell, P & Smith Jr, A-A, 1995. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomic," RCER Working Papers 399, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. 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.
  7. Den Haan, Wouter J., 2010. "Assessing the accuracy of the aggregate law of motion in models with heterogeneous agents," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 79-99, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
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