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Investment Behavior of U.S. Firms Over Heterogenous Capital Goods: A Snapshot

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  • Daniel Wilson

Abstract

Recent research has indicated that investment in certain capital types, such as computers, has fostered accelerated productivity growth and enabled a fundamental reorganization of the workplace. However, remarkably little is known about the composition of investment at the micro level. This paper takes an important first step in filling this knowledge gap by looking at the newly available micro data from the 1998 Annual Capital Expenditure Survey (ACES), a sample of roughly 30,000 firms drawn from the private, nonfarm economy. The paper establishes a number of stylized facts. Among other things, I find that in contrast to aggregate data the typical firm tends to concentrate its capital expenditures in a very limited number of capital types, though which types are chosen varies greatly from firm to firm. In addition, computers account for a significantly larger share of firms’ incremental investment than they do of lumpy investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Wilson, 2004. "Investment Behavior of U.S. Firms Over Heterogenous Capital Goods: A Snapshot," Working Papers 04-19, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:04-19
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2004/CES-WP-04-19.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Laura Power, 1998. "The Missing Link: Technology, Investment, And Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 300-313, May.
    2. Caselli, Francesco & Wilson, Daniel J., 2004. "Importing technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-32, January.
    3. John Haltiwanger, 1997. "Measuring and analyzing aggregate fluctuations: the importance of building from microeconomic evidence," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 55-78.
    4. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
    5. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The Resurgence of Growth in the Late 1990s: Is Information Technology the Story?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
    6. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 1999. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 783-826, July.
    7. 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.
    8. John M. Abowd & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Julia Lane & Paul Lengermann & Kristin McCue & Kevin McKinney & Kristin Sandusky, 2005. "The Relation among Human Capital, Productivity, and Market Value: Building Up from Micro Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 153-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, January.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Wilson, Daniel J., 2009. "IT and Beyond: The Contribution of Heterogeneous Capital to Productivity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 52-70.
    13. Timothy Dunne & Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Kenneth Troske, 2000. "Wage and Productivity Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing: The Role of Computer Investment," Working Papers 00-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    14. 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.
    15. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2003. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 793-808, November.
    16. Dmitriy Stolyarov & Boyan Jovanovic, 2000. "Optimal Adoption of Complementary Technologies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 15-29, March.
    17. Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Dan Sichel, 2005. "Measuring Capital in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number corr05-1.
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    Cited by:

    1. B. Atrostic, 2008. "Measuring U.S. innovative activity: business data at the U.S. Census Bureau," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 153-171, April.
    2. Wilson, Daniel J., 2009. "IT and Beyond: The Contribution of Heterogeneous Capital to Productivity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 52-70.
    3. Randy A. Becker & John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Shawn D. Klimek & Daniel J. Wilson, 2006. "Micro and Macro Data Integration: The Case of Capital," NBER Chapters,in: A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts, pages 541-610 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capital Heterogeneity; Investment;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D29 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Other

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