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Inventories, Production Smoothing and the Shape of the Cost Function

Author

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  • Galeotti, Marzio
  • Guiso, Luigi
  • Sack, Brian
  • Schiantarelli, Fabio

Abstract

In this paper we present estimates of inventory models based on firm level panel data and investigate whether an over-simplified specification of the production technology may account for the failure to find technological incentives to smooth production in the context of the standard linear-quadratic model of inventory behaviour. In particular, we argue that if the role of quasi-fixed factors is not modelled properly, this may lead to inconsistent estimates of marginal costs and, therefore, to erroneous conclusions about the convexity/concavity of the cost function. The model is accordingly extended to allow for a general restricted quadratic cost function, on the assumption that capital is costly to adjust. The evidence obtained by estimating the standard inventory model on a panel of Italian manufacturing firms suggests that marginal costs are decreasing. This result is overturned when one allows for the general quadratic cost function with capital as a quasi-fixed input, however, implying that the firm’s technology provides incentives to smooth production. The conclusion that the cost function is convex in output is robust to allowing for adjustment costs for both capital and labour.

Suggested Citation

  • Galeotti, Marzio & Guiso, Luigi & Sack, Brian & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1997. "Inventories, Production Smoothing and the Shape of the Cost Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 1697, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1697
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Galeotti, Marzio & Maccini, Louis J. & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2005. "Inventories, employment and hours," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 575-600, April.
    2. Ramey, Valerie A. & West, Kenneth D., 1999. "Inventories," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 863-923 Elsevier.
    3. Ghali, Moheb A., 2003. "Production-planning horizon, production smoothing, and convexity of the cost functions," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 67-74, January.
    4. Ghali, Moheb, 2005. "Measuring the convexity of the cost function," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 87-99, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cost Function; Inventories; Production Smoothing;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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