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Understanding how employment responds to productivity shocks in a model with inventories

  • Yongsung Chang
  • Andreas Hornstein
  • Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte

Whether technological progress raises or lowers aggregate employment in the short run has been the subject of much debate in recent years. Using a simple model of industry employment, we show that cross-industry differences of inventory holding costs, demand elasticities, and price rigidities potentially all affect employment decisions in the face of productivity shocks. In particular, the employment response to a permanent productivity shock is more likely to be positive the less costly it is to hold inventories, the more elastic industry demand is, and the more flexible prices are. Using data on 458 4-digit U.S. manufacturing industries over the period 1958-1996, we find statistically significant effects of variations in inventory holdings and demand elasticities on short-run employment responses, but find less evidence pertaining to the effects of measured price stickiness.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 06-06.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:06-06
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  1. Mark Bils & James Kahn, 1998. "What inventory behavior tells us about business cycles," Research Paper 9817, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Yongsung Chang & Jay H. Hong, 2005. "Do technological improvements in the manufacturing sector raise or lower employment?," Working Paper 05-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What happens after a technology shock?," International Finance Discussion Papers 768, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 1998. "Are technology improvements contractionary?," International Finance Discussion Papers 625, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ellen McGrattan & V. V. Chari & Patrick Kehoe, 2005. "Are Structural VARs Useful Guides for Developing Business Cycle Theories?," 2005 Meeting Papers 664, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 1998. "Using Consumer Theory to Test Competing Business Cycle Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 233-261, April.
  8. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  9. Matthew D. Shapiro & Mark W. Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycle Fluctuations," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 870, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Inventories and the Structure of Macro Models," NBER Working Papers 0515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Harald Uhlig, 2004. "Do Technology Shocks Lead to a Fall in Total Hours Worked?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 361-371, 04/05.
  13. Jordi Galí & David López-Salido & Javier Vallés, 2000. "Technology Shocks and Monetary policy: Assessing the Fed's Performance," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0013, Banco de Espa�a.
  14. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  15. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Marchetti, Domenico J. & Nucci, Francesco, 2005. "Price stickiness and the contractionary effect of technology shocks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1137-1163, July.
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