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Firm Heterogeneity, Capacity Utilization and the Business Cycle


  • Jean-François Fagnart

    (Universté de Cergy-Pontoise)

  • Omar Licandro


  • Franck Portier

    (Université des Sciences Sociales de Toulouse)


In a stochastic dynamic general equilibrium framework, we introduce the concept of capacity utilization (as opposed to capital utilization). We consider an economy where monopolistic firms use a putty-clay technology and decide on their productive capacity and technology under under uncertainty. An idiosyncratic uncertainty about the exact position of the demand curve faced by each firm explains why some productive capacities remain idle and why individual capacity utilization rates differ across firms. A variable capacity utilization allows for a good description of some of the main stylized facts of the business cycle, propagates and magnifies aggregate technological shocks and generates endogenous persistence (i.e., the output growth rate displays positive serial correlation). (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-François Fagnart & Omar Licandro & Franck Portier, 1999. "Firm Heterogeneity, Capacity Utilization and the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(2), pages 433-455, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:2:y:1999:i:2:p:433-455
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.1998.0057

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Labor Hoarding and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 245-273, April.
    2. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-947, October.
    3. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-417, June.
    4. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1996. "Factor-Hoarding and the Propagation of Business-Cycle Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1154-1174, December.
    5. Bils, Mark & Cho, Jang-Ok, 1994. "Cyclical factor utilization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 319-354, April.
    6. Andreas Hornstein & Edward C. Prescott, 1989. "The firm and the plant in general equilibrium theory," Staff Report 126, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    7. Cooley, Thomas F & Hansen, Gary D & Prescott, Edward C, 1995. "Equilibrium Business Cycles with Idle Resources and Variable Capacity Utilization," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 6(1), pages 35-49, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sarah Marit Lein & Eva Köberl, 2009. "Capacity Utilisation, Constraintes and Price Adjustments under the Microscope," Working Papers 2009-06, Swiss National Bank.
    2. Masanao Aoki, 2003. "A Simple Quantity Adjustment Model of Economic Fluctuations and Growth," UCLA Economics Online Papers 232, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. RADIM BOHÁČEK & HUGO RODRÍGUEZ MENDIZÁBAL, 2007. "Credit Markets and the Propagation of Monetary Policy Shocks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(6), pages 1429-1455, September.
    4. Judzik, Dario & Sala, Hector, 2015. "The determinants of capital intensity in Japan and the US," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 78-98.
    5. Bernhard Dachs & Martin Hud & Christian Köhler & Bettina Peters, 2016. "Employment Effects of Innovations over the Business Cycle: Firm-Level Evidence from European Countries," CREA Discussion Paper Series 16-20, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    6. Dirk Bezemer & Uwe Dulleck & Paul Frijters, 2003. "Contacts, Social Capital and Market Institutions - A Theory of Development," Vienna Economics Papers 0311, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    7. Martial Dupaigne, 2007. "Les variations choisies de l'utilisation du capital : une revue des implications macroéconomiques," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 117(2), pages 161-196.
    8. Pierre Lafourcade, 2003. "Asset prices and rents in a GE model with imperfect competition," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-60, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Raimundo Soto & Rosalía Vásquez, 2011. "The Efficiency Cost of the Kafala in Dubai: A Stochastic Frontier Analysis," Documentos de Trabajo 399, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    10. Pedro P. Alvarez-Lois, 2005. "Production Inflexibilities and the Cost Channel of Monetary Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(1), pages 170-193, January.
    11. Martial Dupaigne, 2000. "Capital Utilization and the Willingness to Rest: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0391, Econometric Society.
    12. Pedro Pablo Álvarez Lois, 2003. "Capacity utilization and Monetary Policy," Working Papers 0306, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    13. Alvarez-Lois, Pedro P., 2004. "Capacity constraints, idiosyncratic demand uncertainty and the dynamics of inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 15-21, April.
    14. Alvarez-Lois, Pedro P., 2006. "Endogenous capacity utilization and macroeconomic persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2213-2237, November.
    15. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Capacity constraints, asymmetries, and the business cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 850-865, October.
    16. Pedro Pablo Alvarez Lois, 2000. "Endogenous capacity utilization and the asymmetric effects of monetary policy," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 469.00, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).

    More about this item

    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


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