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The magnitude of the speculative motive for holding inventories in a real business cycle model

  • Lawrence J. Christiano
  • Terry J. Fitzgerald

The motive to hold inventories purely in the hope of profiting from a price increase is called the speculative motive. This motive has received considerable attention in the literature. However, existing studies do not have a clear implication for how large it is quantitatively. This paper incorporates the speculative motive for holding inventories into an otherwise standard real business cycle model and finds that empirically plausible parameterizations of the model result in an average inventory stock to output ratio that is virtually zero. For this reason, we conclude that the quantitative magnitude of the speculative role for holding inventories in this model is quite small. This suggests the possibility that the study of aggregate economic phenomena can safely abstract from inventory speculation.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics with number 10.

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Date of creation: 1989
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:10
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  1. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
  2. Christiano, Lawrence J., 1988. "Why does inventory investment fluctuate so much?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 247-280.
  3. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  4. Kahn, James A, 1987. "Inventories and the Volatility of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 667-79, September.
  5. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
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