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Reallocation and Learning over the Business Cycle

Author

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  • Fabiano Schivardi

    (Banca d'Italia)

Abstract

I show how cyclical aggregate shocks can stimulate structural reallocation activities, which in turn amplify the effect of the shock. I emphasize the informational aspects related to restructuring activities and their potential interplay with aggregate shocks. Building on work by Caplin and Leahy (1994), I develop a model in which production units are uncertain about the value of staying in the market and learn about it over time in a Bayesian fashion. In addition to their own private assessment, they can also learn from observing other units’ decisions. Given that adjusting is costly, each unit has an incentive to delay action and wait for other players to act in order to make a better informed decision. If delay is more costly in a downturn, a negative aggregate shock can break the inertia and induce the most pessimistic agents to exit. The information released by such actions will induce more action, thus generating a burst in restructuring activities that reinforces the initial effect of the aggregate shock. This process of information accumulation and revelation offers both a powerful amplification mechanism of relatively modest aggregate shocks and a potential explanation of why restructuring tends to be concentrated in recessions.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabiano Schivardi, 1998. "Reallocation and Learning over the Business Cycle," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 345, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_345_98
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Schivardi, Fabiano, 2003. "Reallocation and learning over the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 95-111, February.
    2. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1994. "Business as Usual, Market Crashes, and Wisdom after the Fact," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 548-565, June.
    3. John Haltiwanger & Steven J. Davis, 1999. "On the Driving Forces behind Cyclical Movements in Employment and Job Reallocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1234-1258, December.
    4. Guiso, Luigi & Schivardi, Fabiano, 1999. "Information Spillover and Factor Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2289, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-793, August.
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    10. Fabiano Schivardi & Martin Schneider, 2008. "Strategic Experimentation and Disruptive Technological Change," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 386-412, April.
    11. Horvath, Michael & Schivardi, Fabiano & Woywode, Michael, 2001. "On industry life-cycles: delay, entry, and shakeout in beer brewing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(7), pages 1023-1052, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Schmoch, Ulrich, 2007. "Double-boom cycles and the comeback of science-push and market-pull," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1000-1015, September.
    2. Guiso, Luigi & Schivardi, Fabiano, 1999. "Information Spillover and Factor Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2289, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Schivardi, Fabiano, 2003. "Reallocation and learning over the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 95-111, February.
    4. Luca Pieroni & Fabrizio Pompei, 2008. "Evaluating innovation and labour market relationships: the case of Italy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 325-347, March.
    5. Schivardi, Fabiano & Torrini, Roberto, 2008. "Identifying the effects of firing restrictions through size-contingent differences in regulation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 482-511, June.
    6. John Haltiwanger & Steven J. Davis, 1999. "On the Driving Forces behind Cyclical Movements in Employment and Job Reallocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1234-1258, December.
    7. Siviero, S. & Terlizzese, D. & Visco, I., 1999. "Are Model-Based Inflation Forecasts Used in Monetary Policymaking? A Case Study," Papers 357, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
    8. Matthew Doyle, 2010. "Informational externalities, strategic delay, and optimal investment subsidies," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(3), pages 941-966, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycle; business organization learning;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing

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