Factor utilization and margins for adjusting output: evidence from manufacturing plants
This paper describes patterns of factor utilization and output adjustment at the plant level for a wide range of manufacturing industries. We explain why manufacturing plants may differ quite a bit in how they accomplish output adjustments, depending on shutdown cost aspects of technology. Assembly-type operations with low shutdown costs would primarily vary the work period of the plant, whereas continuous processing plants with large shutdown costs would adjust instantaneous flow rates of production. For larger output increases, a lengthening of the work period by assemblers would entail employment changes, whereas continuous processors would be more apt to relax physical capital constraints. We use micro survey data on the organization of actual and capacity plant operations to describe the observed patterns of adjustment in individual manufacturing industries and find substantial heterogeneity across industries. For manufacturing as a whole, the work-week appears to be a significant margin of adjustment.
Volume (Year): (1997)
Issue (Month): ()
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