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Inventories and the Volatility of Production


  • Kahn, James A


A stylized fact associated with inventory behavior is that the variance of production exceeds the variance of sales. This paper presents a model of production decisions with demand uncertainty that incorporates no nnegativity constraints on inventories. Even with no productivity shocks, optimal behavior by the firm is consistent with this stylized fact either if demand exhibits positive serial correlation, or if the firm can backlog excess demand. The reason is that a demand shock affects both the actual inventory level (given unchanged production) and the desired level. Production must replenish the stock and adjust to the new desired level. Copyright 1987 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Kahn, James A, 1987. "Inventories and the Volatility of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 667-679, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:77:y:1987:i:4:p:667-79

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 7-36, October.
    2. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-130, April.
    3. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    4. Carliner, Geoffrey, 1980. "Wages, Earnings and Hours of First, Second, and Third Generation American Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(1), pages 87-102, January.
    5. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
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