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Explaining the investment boom of the 1990s

  • Stacey Tevlin
  • Karl Whelan

Real equipment investment in the United States has boomed in recent years, led by soaring investment in computers. We find that traditional aggregate econometric models completely fail to capture the magnitude of this recent growth--mainly because these models neglect to address two features that are crucial (and unique) to the current investment boom. First, the pace at which firms replace depreciated capital has increased. Second, investment has been more sensitive to the cost of capital. We document that these two features stem from the special behavior of investment in computers and therefore propose a disaggregated approach. This produces an econometric model that successfully explains the 1990s equipment investment boom.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2000-11.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2000-11
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  1. Stephen Oliner & Glenn Rudebusch & Daniel Sichel, 1993. "New and old models of business investment: a comparison of forecasting performance," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 141, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," NBER Working Papers 1899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & Kenneth D. West, 1996. "Business Fixed Investment and the Recent Business Cycle in Japan," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 277-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alan J. Auerbach, 1986. "Tax Reform and Adjustment Costs: The Impact on Investment and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 2103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bernanke, Ben & Bohn, Henning & Reiss, Peter C., 1988. "Alternative non-nested specification tests of time-series investment models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 293-326, March.
  6. Stephen D. Oliner, 1990. "Constant-quality price change, depreciation, and retirement of mainframe computers," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 110, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Feldstein, Martin S & Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Towards an Economic Theory of Replacement Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(3), pages 393-423, May.
  8. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1980. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-46, May.
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