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Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants

  • Mark Doms
  • Timothy Dunne

A common result from altering several fundamental assumptions of the neoclassical investment model with convex adjustment costs is that investment may occur in lumpy episodes. This paper takes a step back and asks "How lumpy is the investment?" We answer this question by documenting the distributions of investment and capital adjustment for a sample of over 33,000 manufacturing plants drawn from over 400 four-digit industries. We find that many plants do undergo large investment episodes, however, there is tremendous variation across plants in their capital accumulation patterns. This paper explores how the variation in capital accumulation patterns vary by observable plant and firm characteristics, and how large investment episodes at the plant level transmit into fluctuations in aggregate investment.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/1994/CES-WP-94-11.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 94-11.

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Date of creation: Sep 1994
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Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:94-11
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  1. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
  2. Jonas D. M. Fisher & Jeffrey R. Campbell, 2000. "Aggregate Employment Fluctuations with Microeconomic Asymmetries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1323-1345, December.
  3. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
  4. Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-83, August.
  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. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building From Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "The Aggregate Implications of Machine Replacement: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross job creation, gross job destruction and employment reallocation," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1991. "Irreversibility and Aggregate Investment," NBER Working Papers 3865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, 1993. "A Unified Model of Investment Under Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 4296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Andrew B. Abel & Olivier J. Blanchard, 1983. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," NBER Working Papers 1122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1992. "Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 4090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," NBER Working Papers 5260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
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