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The Response of Prices, Sales, and Output to Temporary Changes in Demand

We determine empirically how the Big Three automakers accommodate shocks to demand. They have the capability to change prices, alter labor inputs through temporary layoffs and overtime, or adjust inventories. These adjustments are interrelated, non-convex, and dynamic in nature. Combining weekly plant-level data on production schedules and output with monthly data on sales and transaction prices, we estimate a dynamic profit-maximization model of the firm. Using impulse response functions, we demonstrate that when an automaker is hit with a demand shock sales respond immediately, prices respond gradually, and production responds only after a delay. The size of the immediate sales response is linear in the size of the shock, but the delayed production response is non-convex in the size of the shock. For sufficiently large shocks the cumulative production response over the product cycle is an order of magnitude larger than the cumulative price response. We examine two recent demand shocks: the Ford Explorer/Firestone tire recall of 2000, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d15a/d1543.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1543.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1543
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Mark Bils & James Kahn, 1998. "What inventory behavior tells us about business cycles," Research Paper 9817, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  3. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1992. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," NBER Working Papers 4105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Haltiwanger & Louis Maccini, 1984. "A Model of Inventory and Layoff Behavior Under Uncertainty," UCLA Economics Working Papers 321, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Hay, George A, 1970. "Production, Price, and Inventory Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(4), pages 531-45, September.
  6. Topel, Robert H, 1982. "Inventories, Layoffs, and the Short-Run Demand for Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 769-87, September.
  7. Marzio Galeotti & Louis J Maccini & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2002. "Inventories Employment and Hours," Economics Working Paper Archive 473, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  8. Aguirregabiria, Victor, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308, April.
  9. Anderson, Patricia M & Meyer, Bruce D, 1993. "Unemployment Insurance in the United States: Layoff Incentives and Cross Subsidies," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages S70-95, January.
  10. Godley, Wynne A H & Nordhaus, William D, 1972. "Pricing in the Trade Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 853-82, September.
  11. Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1990. "The Resurgence of Inventory Research: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 3408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  13. Rossana, Robert J, 1990. "Interrelated Demands for Buffer Stocks and Productive Inputs: Estimates for Two-Digit Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(1), pages 19-29, February.
  14. John Rust & Hui Man Chan & George Hall, 2004. "Price Discrimination in the Steel Market," 2004 Meeting Papers 44, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Carol Corrado & Wendy Dunn & Maria Otoo, 2006. "Incentives and prices for motor vehicles: what has been happening in recent years?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1991. "Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, Winter.
  17. George J. Hall, 1997. "Non-Convex Costs and Capital Utilization: A Study of Production Scheduling at Automobile Assembly Plants," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1169, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  18. Adam Copeland & Wendy Dunn & George Hall, 2005. "Prices, production, and inventories over the automotive model year," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1988. "Labor Demand and the Structure of Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 2572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Haltiwanger, John C. & Maccini, Louis J., 1989. "Inventories, orders, temporary and permanent layoffs: An econometric analysis," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 301-366, January.
  21. Smith, A A, Jr, 1993. "Estimating Nonlinear Time-Series Models Using Simulated Vector Autoregressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(S), pages S63-84, Suppl. De.
  22. Maccini, Louis J & Rossana, Robert J, 1984. "Joint Production, Quasi-Fixed Factors of Production, and Investement in Finished Goods Inventories," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(2), pages 218-36, May.
  23. James Levinsohn & Steven Berry & Ariel Pakes, 1999. "Voluntary Export Restraints on Automobiles: Evaluating a Trade Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 400-430, June.
  24. Wedad Elmaghraby & P{\i}nar Keskinocak, 2003. "Dynamic Pricing in the Presence of Inventory Considerations: Research Overview, Current Practices, and Future Directions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(10), pages 1287-1309, October.
  25. T. M. Whitin, 1955. "Inventory Control and Price Theory," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(1), pages 61-68, October.
  26. Valerie A. Ramey & Daniel J. Vine, 2004. "Tracking the Source of the Decline in GDP Volatility: An Analysis of the Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 10384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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