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Putty-clay and investment: a business cycle analysis

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  • Simon Gilchrist
  • John C. Williams

Abstract

This paper develops a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with putty-clay technology that incorporates embodied technology, investment irreversibility, and variable capacity utilization. Low short-run capital-labor substitutability native to the putty-clay framework induces the putty-clay effect of a tight link between changes in capacity and movements in employment and output. As a result, persistent shocks to technology or factor prices generate business cycle dynamics absent in standard neoclassical models, including a prolonged hump-shaped response of hours, persistence in output growth, and positive comovement in the forecastable components of output and hours. Capacity constraints result in a nonlinear aggregate production function that implies asymmetric responses to large shocks with recessions steeper and deeper than expansions. Minimum distance estimation of a two-sector model that nests putty-clay and neoclassical production technologies supports a significant role for putty-clay capital in explaining business cycle and medium-run dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Gilchrist & John C. Williams, 1998. "Putty-clay and investment: a business cycle analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1998-30
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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