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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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  2. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
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  11. Abel, Andrew B., 1990. "Consumption and investment," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 725-778 Elsevier.
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  19. Øivind Anti Nilsen & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2003. "Zeros and Lumps in Investment: Empirical Evidence on Irreversibilities and Nonconvexities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1021-1037, November.
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  25. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," Papers 0062, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  26. Dolton, Peter J & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Leaving Teaching in the UK: A Duration Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 431-44, March.
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