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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. 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).
  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, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  4. Den Haan, Wouter, 2008. "Assessing the Accuracy of the Aggregate Law of Motion in Models with Heterogeneous Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 6971, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Amit Gandhi & Salvador Navarro & David Rivers, 2011. "On the Identification of Production Functions: How Heterogeneous is Productivity?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20119, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  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. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  8. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  9. von Kalckreuth, Ulf, 2000. "Exploring the role of uncertainty for corporate investment decisions in Germany," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2000,05, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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