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On the employment effects of productivity shocks: The role of inventories, demand elasticity, and sticky prices

  • Chang, Yongsung
  • Hornstein, Andreas
  • Sarte, Pierre-Daniel

Whether technological progress raises or lowers employment in the short run has been the subject of much debate in the recent years. We show that cross-industry differences in inventory holding costs, demand elasticities, and price rigidities potentially all affect employment decisions in the face of productivity shocks. In particular, the employment response to a permanent productivity shock is more likely to be positive the less costly it is to hold inventories, the more elastic industry demand is, and the more flexible prices are. Using data on 458 4-digit U.S. manufacturing industries over the period 1958-1996, we find statistically significant effects of variations in inventory holdings and demand elasticities on short-run employment responses, but less conclusive evidence pertaining to the effects of measured price stickiness.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 328-343

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:56:y:2009:i:3:p:328-343
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "State-Dependent Pricing And The General Equilibrium Dynamics Of Money And Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 655-690, May.
  4. Matthew Shapiro & Mark Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycles Fluctuations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 111-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Aubhik Khan & Julia K. Thomas, 2007. "Inventories and the Business Cycle: An Equilibrium Analysis of ( S, s ) Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1165-1188, September.
  6. Mark Bils & James A. Kahn, 1999. "What inventory behavior tells us about business cycles," Staff Reports 92, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Galí, Jordi & Lopez-Salido, Jose David & Vallés Liberal, Javier, 2002. "Technology Shocks and Monetary Policy: Assessing the Fed's Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 3211, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2004. "The Response of Hours to a Technology Shock: Evidence Based on Direct Measures of Technology," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 381-395, 04/05.
  9. Matteo Iacoviello & Fabio Schiantarelli & Scott Schuh, 2007. "Input and Output Inventories in General Equilibrium," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 658, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 23 Oct 2009.
  10. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2002. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1986, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Blinder, Alan S, 1981. "Inventories and the Structure of Macro Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 11-16, May.
  12. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 1989. "The magnitude of the speculative motive for holding inventories in a real business cycle model," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 10, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Harald Uhlig, 2004. "Do Technology Shocks Lead to a Fall in Total Hours Worked?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 361-371, 04/05.
  14. Ramey, Valerie A & Francis, Neville, 2002. "Is The Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead? Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations Revisted," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6x80k3nx, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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  16. Michael Dotsey, 2002. "Structure from shocks," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 37-47.
  17. Christiano, Lawrence J., 1988. "Why does inventory investment fluctuate so much?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 247-280.
  18. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Yongsung Chang & Jay H. Hong, 2005. "Do technological improvements in the manufacturing sector raise or lower employment?," Working Papers 05-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  20. John Shea, 1999. "What Do Technology Shocks Do?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 275-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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