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Markups, Aggregation, and Inventory Adjustment

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  • Daniele Coen-Pirani

Abstract

In this paper I suggest a unified explanation for two puzzles in the inventory literature: first, estimates of inventory speeds of adjustment in aggregate data are very small relative to the apparent rapid reaction of stocks to unanticipated variations in sales. Second, estimates of inventory speeds of adjustment in firm-level data are significantly higher than in aggregate data. The paper develops a multisector model where inventories are held to avoid stockouts, and price markups vary along the business cycle. The omission of countercyclical markup variations from inventory targets introduces a downward bias in estimates of adjustment speeds obtained from partial adjustment models. When the cyclicality of markups differs across sectors, this downward bias is shown to be more severe with aggregate rather than firm-level data. Similar results apply not only to inventories, but also to labor and prices. Montercarlo simulations of a calibrated version of the model suggest that these biases are quantitatively significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2004. "Markups, Aggregation, and Inventory Adjustment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1328-1353, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:5:p:1328-1353
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828043052376
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yi Wen, 2011. "Input and Output Inventory Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-212, October.
    2. Matteo Iacoviello & Fabio Schiantarelli & Scott Schuh, 2011. "Input And Output Inventories In General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1179-1213, November.
    3. Lin, Winston T. & Kao, Ta-Wei (Daniel), 2014. "The partial adjustment valuation approach with dynamic and variable speeds of adjustment to evaluating and measuring the business value of information technology," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 238(1), pages 208-220.
    4. Pengfei Wang & Yi Wen & Zhiwei Xu, 2011. "When do inventories destabilize the economy? an analytical approach to (S,s) policies," Working Papers 2011-014, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    5. Zhiwei Xu & Yi Wen & pengfei Wang, 2012. "When Do Inventories Destabilize the Economy? ---A Tractable Approach to (S,s) Policies," 2012 Meeting Papers 288, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Den Haan, Wouter, 2013. "Inventories and the Role of Goods-Market Frictions for Business Cycles," CEPR Discussion Papers 9628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. John D. Tsoukalas, 2011. "Input and Output Inventories in the UK," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(311), pages 460-479, July.
    8. Wouter Den Haan, 2014. "Inventories and the Role of Goods-Market Frictions for Business Cycles," Discussion Papers 1402, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    9. Yi Wen, 2008. "Inventories, liquidity, and the macroeconomy," Working Papers 2008-045, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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