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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. 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.
  2. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2004. "Are technology improvements contractionary?," Working Paper Series WP-04-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Yongsung Chang & Jay H. Hong, 2005. "Do technological improvements in the manufacturing sector raise or lower employment?," Working Paper 05-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  4. Matthew D. Shapiro & Mark W. Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycle Fluctuations," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 870, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Jordi Gali & J. David Lopez-Salido & Javier Valles, 2002. "Technology Shocks and Monetary Policy: Assessing the Fed's Performance," NBER Working Papers 8768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2004. "The Response of Hours to a Technology Shock: Evidence Based on Direct Measures of Technology," NBER Working Papers 10254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Aubhik Khan & Julia K. Thomas, 2002. "Inventories and the business cycle: an equilibrium analysis of (S,s) policies," Working Papers 02-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. 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.
  9. Francis, Neville & Ramey, Valerie A., 2005. "Is the technology-driven real business cycle hypothesis dead? Shocks and aggregate fluctuations revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1379-1399, November.
  10. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Marchetti, Domenico J. & Nucci, Francesco, 2005. "Price stickiness and the contractionary effect of technology shocks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1137-1163, July.
  12. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
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  17. Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Inventories and the Structure of Macro Models," NBER Working Papers 0515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. 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.
  20. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  21. Christiano, Lawrence J., 1988. "Why does inventory investment fluctuate so much?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 247-280.
  22. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  23. Fernald, John G., 2007. "Trend breaks, long-run restrictions, and contractionary technology improvements," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2467-2485, November.
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