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Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps

  • John Haltiwanger
  • Russell Cooper
  • Laura Power

This paper explores investment fluctuations due to discrete changes in a plant's capital stock. The resulting aggregate investment dynamics are surprisingly rich, reflecting the interaction between a replacement cycle, the cross-sectional distribution of the age of the capital stock, and an aggregate shock. Using plant-level data, lumpy investment is procyclical and more likely for older capital. Further, the predicted path of aggregate investment that neglects vintage effects tracks actual aggregate investment reasonably well. However, ignoring fluctuations in the cross-sectional distribution of investment vintages can yield predictable nontrivial errors in forecasting changes in aggregate investment.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.89.4.921
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 89 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 921-946

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:89:y:1999:i:4:p:921-946
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.4.921
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  10. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
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  13. Rothschild, Michael, 1971. "On the Cost of Adjustment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 605-22, November.
  14. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," Papers 0062, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
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  18. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1996. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building from Microeconomic Evidence," Documentos de Trabajo 6, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
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