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Zeroes and Lumps in Investment: Empirical Evidence on Irreversibilities and Non-Convexities

  • Oivind Anti Nilsen

    (University of Bergen)

  • Fabio Schiantarelli


    (Boston College)

The objective of this paper is to investigate if and how capital adjustment departs from the smooth pattern implied by standard model based on convex adjustment costs. Using Norwegian micro data, we start by documenting various aspects of the distribution of investment rates. We then present two pieces of econometric evidence on these issues. First, we estimate a discrete hazard model to determine the probability of having an episode of high investment, conditional on the length of the interval from the last high investment episode and we discuss what the empirical results suggest about the shape of the adjustment cost function. Second, we move beyond this discretization of the investment problem and estimate a switching regression model that allows for the response of the investment rate to fundamentals to differ across regimes. In both cases we investigate the aggregate implications of our results.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 337..

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jul 1996
Date of revision: 01 Nov 2000
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:337
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  1. 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.
  2. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-73, March.
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  4. Leahy, John V & Whited, Toni M, 1996. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Investment: Some Stylized Facts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(1), pages 64-83, February.
  5. repec:bla:restud:v:41:y:1974:i:1:p:1-19 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1996. "Financial Constraints and Investment: Methodological Issues and International Evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 70-89, Summer.
  7. Aubhik Khan & Julia K. Thomas, . "Nonconvex Factor Adjustments in Equilibrium Business Cycle Models: Do Nonlinearities Matter?," GSIA Working Papers 2000-E33, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  8. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1994. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 94-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1994. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," NBER Working Papers 4887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. David Card & Daniel Sullivan, 1987. "Measuring the Effect of Subsidized Training Programs on Movements In andOut of Employment," NBER Working Papers 2173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, . "A Unified Model of Investment Under Uncertainty," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 14-93, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  12. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "On the Sign of the Investment-Uncertainty Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 279-88, March.
  13. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  14. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper & Laura Power, 1999. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 921-946, September.
  15. Gilchrist, Simon & Himmelberg, Charles P., 1995. "Evidence on the role of cash flow for investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 541-572, December.
  16. Serven, Luis, 1997. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty and Private Investment: Analytical Issues and Some Lessons for Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(3), pages 229-68, Supplemen.
  17. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Prescott, Edward C, 1971. "Investment Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 659-81, September.
  18. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1997. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," NBER Working Papers 5996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. Eberly, Janice C., 1997. "International evidence on investment and fundamentals," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1055-1078, June.
  22. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  23. repec:bla:restud:v:61:y:1994:i:2:p:223-46 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1984. "Econometric duration analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 63-132.
  25. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1991. "Irreversibility and Aggregate Investment," NBER Working Papers 3865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Xiaoqiang Hu & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1998. "Investment And Capital Market Imperfections: A Switching Regression Approach Using U.S. Firm Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 466-479, August.
  27. Ricardo J. Caballero & John V. Leahy, 1996. "Fixed Costs: The Demise of Marginal q," NBER Working Papers 5508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Austan Goolsbee & David B. Gross, 1997. "Estimating Adjustment Costs with Data on Heterogeneous Capital Goods," NBER Working Papers 6342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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