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Investment Dispersion and the Business Cycle

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  • R?diger Bachmann
  • Christian Bayer

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:4:p:1392-1416
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.4.1392
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2007. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 107-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Amit Gandhi & Salvador Navarro & David Rivers, 2011. "On the Identification of Production Functions: How Heterogeneous is Productivity?," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20119, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    4. 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.
    5. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
    9. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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