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Adjustment is Much Slower than You Think

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  • Caballero, Ricardo J.
  • Engel, Eduardo M.R.A.

Abstract

In most instances, the dynamic response of monetary and other policies to shocks is infrequent and lumpy. The same holds for the microeconomic response of some of the most important economic variables, such as investment, labor demand, and prices. We show that the standard practice of estimating the speed of adjustment of such variables with partial-adjustment ARMA procedures substantially overestimates this speed. For example, for the target federal funds rate, we find that the actual response to shocks is less than half as fast as the estimated response. For investment, labor demand and prices, the speed of adjustment inferred from aggregates of a small number of agents is likely to be close to instantaneous. While aggregating across microeconomic units reduces the bias (the limit of which is illustrated by Rotemberg's widely used linear aggregate characterization of Calvo's model of sticky prices), in some instances convergence is extremely slow. For example, even after aggregating investment across all establishments in U.S. manufacturing, the estimate of its speed of adjustment to shocks is biased upward by more than 80 percent. While the bias is not as extreme for labor demand and prices, it still remains significant at high levels of aggregation. Because the bias rises with disaggregation, findings of microeconomic adjustment that is substantially faster than aggregate adjustment are generally suspect.

Suggested Citation

  • Caballero, Ricardo J. & Engel, Eduardo M.R.A., 2003. "Adjustment is Much Slower than You Think," Center Discussion Papers 28419, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:yaleeg:28419
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.28419
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/28419/files/dp030865.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
    2. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1987. "Interest rate smoothing and price level trend-stationarity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 335-348, May.
    3. Brian P. Sack, 1998. "Uncertainty, learning, and gradual monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), revised 1998.
    4. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    5. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1999. "Aggregate investment," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 813-862, Elsevier.
    6. Caballero, Ricardo J & Engel, Eduardo M R A & Haltiwanger, John, 1997. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building from Microeconomic Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 115-137, March.
    7. Majd, Saman & Pindyck, Robert S., 1987. "Time to build, option value, and investment decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-27, March.
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    10. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
    11. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
    12. Oliver Jean Blanchard, 1987. "Aggregate and Individual Price Adjustment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(1), pages 57-122.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Wadsworth, 2010. "Did the National Minimum Wage Affect UK Prices?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 81-120, March.
    2. Caggiano, Giovanni & Castelnuovo, Efrem, 2011. "On the dynamics of international inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 189-191, August.
    3. Patrick Lünnemann & Thomas Y. Mathä, 2010. "Rigidities and inflation persistence of services and regulated prices," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(2-3), pages 193-208.
    4. Denis Fougère & Erwan Gautier & Hervé Le Bihan, 2010. "Restaurant Prices and the Minimum Wage," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(7), pages 1199-1234, October.
    5. repec:spr:comgts:v:16:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s10287-019-00354-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Todd E. Clark, 2006. "Disaggregate evidence on the persistence of consumer price inflation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(5), pages 563-587.
    7. Juan Pablo Medina G. & David Rappoport W. & Claudio Soto G., 2007. "Dynamics of Price Adjustments: Evidence From Micro Level Data For Chile," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 10(2), pages 5-26, August.
    8. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro & Varejão, José, 2014. "Labor demand research: Toward a better match between better theory and better data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 4-11.
    9. Calmès, Christian & Théoret, Raymond, 2010. "The impact of off-balance-sheet activities on banks returns: An application of the ARCH-M to Canadian data," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1719-1728, July.
    10. Christian Calmès & Raymond Théoret, 2009. "The Impact of Banking Deregulation on Canadian Banks Returns," RePAd Working Paper Series UQO-DSA-wp022009, Département des sciences administratives, UQO.
    11. Jürgen Bierbaumer-Polly & Werner Hölzl, 2016. "Business Cycle Dynamics and Firm Heterogeneity. Evidence for Austria Using Survey Data," WIFO Working Papers 504, WIFO.
    12. Filippo Altissimo & Michael Ehrmann & Frank Smets, 2006. "Inflation persistence and price-setting behaviour in the euro area – a summary of the IPN evidence," Occasional Paper Series 46, European Central Bank.
    13. Adams, Zeno & Füss, Roland, 2010. "Macroeconomic determinants of international housing markets," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 38-50, March.
    14. Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2004. "Markups, Aggregation, and Inventory Adjustment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1328-1353, December.
    15. Christian Calmès & Raymond Théoret, 2008. "Banking Deregulation and Financial Stability : is it Time to re-regulate in Canada ?," RePAd Working Paper Series UQO-DSA-wp042008, Département des sciences administratives, UQO.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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