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The response of capital goods shipments to demand over the business cycle


  • Jeremy J. Nalewaik
  • Eugenio P. Pinto


This paper studies the behavior of producers of capital goods, examining how they set shipments in response to fluctuations in new orders. The paper establishes a stylized fact: the response of shipments to orders is more pronounced when the level of new orders is low relative to the level of shipments, usually after orders plunge in recessions. This cyclical change in firm behavior is quantitatively important, accounting for a large portion of the steep decline in equipment investment in the 2001 and 2007--9 recessions. We examine economic interpretations of this stylized fact using a model where firms smooth production with a target delivery lag for new orders. Heightened persistence in orders growth may explain part of the greater responsiveness of shipments to orders, as may increases in firms' target buffer stocks of unfilled orders relative to shipments.

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  • Jeremy J. Nalewaik & Eugenio P. Pinto, 2012. "The response of capital goods shipments to demand over the business cycle," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-30

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    1. Hansen, Bruce E. & Seo, Byeongseon, 2002. "Testing for two-regime threshold cointegration in vector error-correction models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 293-318, October.
    2. Aubhik Khan & Julia K. Thomas, 2007. "Inventories and the Business Cycle: An Equilibrium Analysis of ( S , s ) Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1165-1188, September.
    3. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, January.
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