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What Inventory Behavior Tells Us about Business Cycles

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  • James A. Kahn
  • Mark Bils

Abstract

The countercyclical pattern of inventory-sales ratios is a striking feature of inventory behavior. In a model where inventories are productive for sales, both the markup of price over marginal cost and expected changes in marginal cost are key determinants of that ratio. This paper argues that costly variation in factor utilization gives rise to countercyclical markups in production-to-stock manufacturing industries. Time markup turns out to be more important than intertemporal substitution in explaining the behavior of inventory-sales ratios.

Suggested Citation

  • James A. Kahn & Mark Bils, 2000. "What Inventory Behavior Tells Us about Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 458-481, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:3:p:458-481
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.3.458
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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