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What Actually Happened to the Inventories of American Companies Between 1981 and 2000?

Author

Listed:
  • Hong Chen

    () (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2, Canada)

  • Murray Z. Frank

    () (Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455)

  • Owen Q. Wu

    () (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2, Canada)

Abstract

This paper examines the inventories of publicly traded American manufacturing companies between 1981 and 2000. The median of inventory holding periods were reduced from 96 days to 81 days. The average rate of inventory reduction is about 2% per year. The greatest reduction was found for work-in-process inventory, which declined by about 6% per year. Finished-goods inventories did not decline. Firms with abnormally high inventories have abnormally poor long-term stock returns. Firms with slightly lower than average inventories have good stock returns, but firms with the lowest inventories have only ordinary returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Hong Chen & Murray Z. Frank & Owen Q. Wu, 2005. "What Actually Happened to the Inventories of American Companies Between 1981 and 2000?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(7), pages 1015-1031, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:51:y:2005:i:7:p:1015-1031
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1050.0368
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fama, Eugene F., 1998. "Market efficiency, long-term returns, and behavioral finance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 283-306, September.
    2. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
    3. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    4. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
    5. Sadao Sakakibara & Barbara B. Flynn & Roger G. Schroeder & William T. Morris, 1997. "The Impact of Just-in-Time Manufacturing and Its Infrastructure on Manufacturing Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(9), pages 1246-1257, September.
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    Keywords

    inventory; just in time; supply chain; manufacturing;

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