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Idiosyncratic shocks and the role of nonconvexities in plant and aggregate investment dynamics

  • Aubhik Khan
  • Julia Thomas

We solve equilibrium models of lumpy investment wherein establishments face persistent shocks to common and plant-specific productivity. Nonconvex adjustment costs lead plants to pursue generalized (S, s) rules with respect to capital; thus, their investments are lumpy. In partial equilibrium, this yields substantial skewness and kurtosis in aggregate investment, though, with differences in plant-level productivity, these nonlinearities are far less pronounced. Moreover, nonconvex costs, like quadratic adjustment costs, increase the persistence of aggregate investment, yielding a better match with the data. In general equilibrium, aggregate nonlinearities disappear, and investment rates are very persistent, regardless of adjustment costs. While the aggregate implications of lumpy investment change substantially in equilibrium, the inclusion of fixed costs or idiosyncratic shocks makes the average distribution of plant investment rates largely invariant to market-clearing movements in real wages and interest rates. Nonetheless, we find that understanding the dynamics of plant-level investment requires general equilibrium analysis.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 352.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:352
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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
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  3. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1994. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," NBER Working Papers 4887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ruediger Bachmann & Eduardo Engel & Ricardo Caballero, 2006. "Lumpy Investment in Dynamic General Equilibrium," 2006 Meeting Papers 775, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Julia K. Thomas, 2002. "Is lumpy investment relevant for the business cycle?," Staff Report 302, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Khan, Aubhik & Thomas, Julia K., 2003. "Nonconvex factor adjustments in equilibrium business cycle models: do nonlinearities matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 331-360, March.
  7. R?diger Bachmann & Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 2013. "Aggregate Implications of Lumpy Investment: New Evidence and a DSGE Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-67, October.
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