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Explaining the Investment Boom of the 1990s

  • Tevlin, Stacey
  • Whelan, Karl

Real equipment investment in the United States boomed in the 1990s, led by soaring investment in computers. We find that traditional aggregate econometric models completely fail to capture the magnitude of this growth-mainly because these models neglect to address two features that were crucial (and unique) to the 1990s' investment boom. First, the pace at which firms replace depreciated capital increased. Second, investment was more sensitive to the cost of capital. We document that these two features stem from the special behavior of investment in computers and therefore propose a disaggregated approach. This produces an econometric model that successfully explains the 1990s' equipment investment boom.

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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 35 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-22

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:35:y:2003:i:1:p:1-22
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  1. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & Kenneth D. West, 1996. "Business Fixed Investment and the Recent Business Cycle in Japan," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 277-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Auerbach, Alan J, 1989. "Tax Reform and Adjustment Costs: The Impact on Investment and Market Value," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(4), pages 939-62, November.
  3. Stephen D. Oliner, 1993. "Constant-Quality Price Change , Depreciation, and Retirement of Mainframe Computers," NBER Chapters, in: Price Measurements and Their Uses, pages 19-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," NBER Working Papers 1899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stephen Oliner & Glenn Rudebusch & Daniel Sichel, 1993. "New and old models of business investment: a comparison of forecasting performance," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 141, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Working Papers 127, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Ben S. Bernanke & Henning Bohn & Peter C. Reiss, 1985. "Alternative Nonnested Specification Tests of Time Series Investment Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Feldstein, Martin S & Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Towards an Economic Theory of Replacement Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(3), pages 393-423, May.
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