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The Life Cycles of Industrial Plants


  • Seong-Hoon Lee
  • Michael Gort


The paper presents a dynamic programming model with multiple classes of capital goods to explain capital expenditures on existing plants over their lives. The empirical specification shows that the path of capital expenditures is explained by (a) complementarities between old and new capital goods, (b) the age of plants, (c) an index that captures the rate of technical change and (d) the labor intensiveness of a plant when it is newly born. The model is tested with Census data for roughly 6,000 manufacturing plants that were born after 1972.

Suggested Citation

  • Seong-Hoon Lee & Michael Gort, 2001. "The Life Cycles of Industrial Plants," Working Papers 01-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:01-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feldstein, Martin S & Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Towards an Economic Theory of Replacement Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(3), pages 393-423, May.
    2. Michael Rothschild, 1971. "On the Cost of Adjustment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(4), pages 605-622.
    3. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1990. "Kinked Adjustment Costs and Aggregate Dynamics," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 237-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Boddy, Raford & Gort, Michael, 1971. "The Substitution of Capital for Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(2), pages 179-188, May.
    5. Mark E. Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1998. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 409-429, April.
    6. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Dmitriy Stolyarov & Boyan Jovanovic, 2000. "Optimal Adoption of Complementary Technologies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 15-29, March.
    9. J. P. Gould, 1968. "Adjustment Costs in the Theory of Investment of the Firm," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 47-55.
    10. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    11. Robert E. Lucas & Jr., 1967. "Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 321-321.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Gort & Seong-Hoon Lee, 2003. "Managerial Efficiency, Organizational Capital and Productivity," Working Papers 03-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Michael Gort & J. Bradford Jensen & Seong-Hoon Lee, 2002. "The Survival of Industrial Plants," Working Papers 02-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

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