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Technology, Capital Spending, And Capacity Utilization

  • CYNTHIA BANSAK
  • NORMAN MORIN
  • MARTHA STARR

"Capacity utilization is a closely watched macroeconomic indicator because rising utilization may signal rising inflationary pressures. However, recent technological changes have increased the flexibility of relationships between inputs and outputs, potentially eroding the predictive value of the utilization rate. This paper examines relationships between technology, capital spending, and capacity utilization. After establishing conceptually that the effect of recent technological changes on capacity utilization is ambiguous, we investigate the effect empirically using panel data on 111 manufacturing industries. Our results suggest that, for the average industry, the technological change of the 1974-2000 period lowered capacity utilization by 0.2-2.3 percentage points." ("JEL" D24, E22, E31) Copyright 2007 Western Economic Association International.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 45 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (07)
Pages: 631-645

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:45:y:2007:i:3:p:631-645
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  1. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper & Laura Power, 1999. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 921-946, September.
  2. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Productivity Dynamics with Technology Choice: An Application to Automobile Assembly," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 167-198, January.
  3. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1995. "Inflation Indicators and Inflation Policy," NBER Working Papers 5161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Flint Brayton & John M. Roberts & John C. Williams, 1999. "What's happened to the Phillips curve?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Berndt, Ernst R. & Morrison, Catherine J., 1995. "High-tech capital formation and economic performance in U.S. manufacturing industries An exploratory analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-43, January.
  6. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
  7. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
  8. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  9. Valerie A. Ramey & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2001. "Displaced Capital: A Study of Aerospace Plant Closings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 958-992, October.
  10. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1989. "Assessing the Federal Reserve's Measures of Capacity and Utilization," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 181-242.
  11. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng., 1980. "Estimation of Dynamic Models with Error Components," Working Papers 336, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. Carol Corrado & Joe Mattey, 1997. "Capacity Utilization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 151-167, Winter.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521818551 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
  15. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  16. Karl Whelan, 2000. "A guide to the use of chain aggregated NIPA data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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