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What drives aggregate investment? Evidence from German survey data

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  • Bachmann, Rüdiger
  • Zorn, Peter

Abstract

The ifo Investment Survey asks firms in the German manufacturing sector about the importance of sales, technological factors, finance, return expectations, and macroeconomic policy for their investment activity in a given year. We show that these subjective investment determinants 1) capture economically what their labels suggest, and 2) have strong explanatory power for aggregate manufacturing investment growth fluctuations. In a second step, we use these determinants to identify aggregate demand and aggregate technology shocks and argue that the bulk of the variance of both aggregate manufacturing investment and output growth fluctuations (as much as approximately two thirds in both cases) is explained by aggregate demand shocks. Consistent with neoclassical views, however, technological factors are the most important investment determinant on average.

Suggested Citation

  • Bachmann, Rüdiger & Zorn, Peter, 2020. "What drives aggregate investment? Evidence from German survey data," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:115:y:2020:i:c:s0165188920300427
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2020.103873
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    3. Massenot, Baptiste & Pettinicchi, Yuri, 2018. "Can firms see into the future? Survey evidence from Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 66-79.
    4. Zeno Enders & Franziska Hünnekes & Gernot Müller, 2019. "Firm expectations and economic activity," CESifo Working Paper Series 7623, CESifo.
    5. Alexandros Botsis & Christoph Görtz & Plutarchos Sakellaris, 2020. "Quantifying Qualitative Survey Data: New Insights on the (Ir)Rationality of Firms' Forecasts," CESifo Working Paper Series 8148, CESifo.
    6. Christian Matthes & Felipe Schwartzman, 2019. "What Do Sectoral Dynamics Tell Us About the Origins of Business Cycles?," Working Paper 19-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    7. Jonas Dovern & Lena Sophia Müller & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2020. "How Do Firms Form Expectations of Aggregate Growth? New Evidence from a Large-Scale Business Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 8179, CESifo.
    8. Jonas Dovern & Lena Sophia Müller & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2020. "How Do Firms Form Expectations of Aggregate Growth? New Evidence from a Large-Scale Business Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 8179, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investment dynamics; Investment determinants; Survey data; Narrative approach; Aggregate demand shocks; Sentiment shocks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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