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The Role of Inventories and Capacity Utilization as Shock Absorbers

Author

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  • Leonardo Auernheimer
  • Danilo Trupkin

    (Universidad de Montevideo)

Abstract

We examine the role of inventories and capacity utilization (of both capital and labor) for the propagation of business cycle fluctuations. We document a new set of facts regarding the U.S. cyclical regularities of inventories and capacity utilization. First, we find that capital utilization and the flows of services from both capital and labor are procyclical, and comove with the holdings of inventories. Second, we find that labor utilization is procyclical as well, but is weakly negatively correlated with inventories. We build a model that accounts for these facts, and also accounts for the stylized inventory facts, i.e., inventory holdings are procyclical, while the inventory-to-sales ratio is countercyclical. The analysis is centered on the effects of two possible shocks: preference (demand) shocks and technology shocks. Our model shows that inventories and the rate of capital utilization are mostly complements, while inventories and the rate of labor utilization are mostly substitutes. It further shows that temporary demand shocks emphasize the role of inventories as being a "shock absorber," whereas high-persistence demand shocks, as well as technology shocks of any persistence, emphasize the role of inventories as being a complement to consumption. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Auernheimer & Danilo Trupkin, 2014. "The Role of Inventories and Capacity Utilization as Shock Absorbers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 70-85, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:12-159
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2013.04.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul De Grauwe & Eddie Gerba, 2015. "Stock Market Cycles and Supply Side Dynamics: Two Worlds, One Vision?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5573, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. repec:cuf:journl:y:2017:v:18:i:1:liu is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Finkelstein Shapiro, Alan & Mandelman, Federico S., 2016. "Remittances, entrepreneurship, and employment dynamics over the business cycle," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 184-199.
    4. de Grauwe, Paul & Gerba, Eddie, 2015. "Stock market cycles and supply side dynamics," FinMaP-Working Papers 45, Collaborative EU Project FinMaP - Financial Distortions and Macroeconomic Performance: Expectations, Constraints and Interaction of Agents.
    5. Jiang, Mingming, 2016. "By force of demand: Explaining cyclical fluctuations of international trade and government spending," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 249-267.
    6. Marcel Förster, 2014. "An Empirical Analysis of Business Cycles in a New Keynesian Model with Inventories," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201413, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. repec:eee:ecolet:v:160:y:2017:i:c:p:29-32 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inventories; Capital utilization; Labor intensity; Business cycle;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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