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Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories

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  • Alan S. Blinder
  • Louis J. Maccini

Abstract

Empirical and theoretical aspects of inventory behavior became hot topics in the 1950s and early 1960s. No one seemed to notice the tension that was developing between the emerging macroeconomic and microeconomic views of inventories. Macroeconomists routinely thought of inventories as a destabilizing factor, yet the prevailing micro theory viewed inventories as a stabilizing factor. It was a fascinating question that was barely explored. Instead somewhat inexplicably, interest in inventories dried up, as if inventories were of minor economic significance and little intrinsic interest. By the early 1980s, then, economists once again knew something they had known in the 1950s: that inventory investment is of first-order importance in business cycles. But they were also beginning to realize that the standard production-smoothing/buffer-stock model of inventories was in deep trouble. This paper focuses on developments since that realization.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1991. "Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:1:p:73-96
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.1.73
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.5.1.73
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing

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