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The Interest Rate Learning and Inventory Investment

  • Bartholomew Moore
  • Louis J Maccini
  • Huntley Schaller

Economic theory predicts a negative relationship between inventories and the real interest rate, but previous empirical studies (mostly based on the older stock adjustment model) have found little evidence of such a relationship. We derive parametric tests for the role of the interest rate in specifications based on the firm’s optimization problem. These Euler equation and decision rule tests mirror earlier evidence, finding little role for the interest rate. We present a simple and intuitively appealing explanation, based on regime switching in the real interest rate and learning, of why tests based on the stock adjustment model, the Euler equation, and the decision rule ?all of which emphasize short-run fluctuations in inventories and the interest rate ?are unlikely to uncover a relationship. Our analysis suggests that inventories will not respond much to short-run fluctuations in the interest rate, but they should respond to long-run movements (regime shifts; e.g., between low real rates in the 1970s and high rates in the early 1980s). Both simple and sophisticated tests confirm our predictions and show a highly significant long-run relationship between inventories and the interest rate, with an elasticity of about -1.5. Furthermore, a formal model of our explanation yields a distinctive, testable implication. This implication is supported by the data.

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Paper provided by The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number 512.

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Date of creation: Dec 2002
Date of revision: Apr 2004
Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:512
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  1. Bils, M. & Kahn, J.A., 1996. "What Inventory Behavior Tells Us About Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 428, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Alan S. Blinder, 1984. "Can The Production Smoothing Model of Inventory Behavior be Saved?," NBER Working Papers 1257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jeffrey A. Miron & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Seasonality, Cost Shocks and the Production Smoothing Model of Inventories," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 01-87, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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  11. Blinder, Alan S, 1986. "More on the Speed of Adjustment in Inventory Models," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(3), pages 355-65, August.
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  13. Ramey, Valerie A, 1991. "Nonconvex Costs and the Behavior of Inventories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 306-34, April.
  14. Rossana, R J, 1993. "The Long-Run Implications of the Production Smoothing Model of Inventories: An Empirical Test," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 295-306, July-Sept.
  15. West, Kenneth D, 1986. "A Variance Bounds Test of the Linear Quadratic Inventory Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 374-401, April.
  16. Krane, Spencer D & Braun, Stephen N, 1991. "Production Smoothing Evidence from Physical-Product Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 558-81, June.
  17. Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1994. "Inventory Investment, Internal-Finance Fluctuation, and the Business Cycle," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 75-138.
  18. Akhtar, M A, 1983. "Effects of Interest Rates and Inflation on Aggregate Inventory Investment in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 319-28, June.
  19. Durlauf, S.N. & Maccini, L.J., 1993. "Measuring Noise in Inventory Models," Working papers 9326, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  20. Rossana, Robert J, 1998. "Structural Instability and the Production-Smoothing Model of Inventories," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 206-15, April.
  21. Rossana, Robert J, 1990. "Interrelated Demands for Buffer Stocks and Productive Inputs: Estimates for Two-Digit Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(1), pages 19-29, February.
  22. Anil K. Kashyap & Owen A. Lamont & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Credit conditions and the cyclical behavior of inventories," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 93-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  23. Kollintzas, Tryphon, 1995. "A generalized variance bounds test with an application to the Holt et al. inventory model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 59-89.
  24. Maccini, Louis J & Rossana, Robert J, 1984. "Joint Production, Quasi-Fixed Factors of Production, and Investement in Finished Goods Inventories," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(2), pages 218-36, May.
  25. Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1994. "Inventory (Dis)Investment, Internal Finance Fluctuations, and the Business Cycle," Macroeconomics 9401001, EconWPA.
  26. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1993. "A Simple Estimator of Cointegrating Vectors in Higher Order Integrated Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 783-820, July.
  27. Brad R. Humphreys & Louis J. Maccini & Scott Schuh, 1997. "Input and output inventories," Working Papers 97-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  28. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
  29. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1994. "Small Sample Bias and Adjustment Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 52-58, February.
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  31. Jeffrey Fuhrer & George Moore & Scott Schuh, 1993. "Estimating the linear-quadratic inventory model: maximum likelihood versus generalized method of moments," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  32. Irvine, F Owen, Jr, 1981. "Retail Inventory Investment and the Cost of Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 633-48, September.
  33. Ramey, Valerie A, 1989. "Inventories as Factors of Production and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 338-54, June.
  34. Kahn, James A, 1992. "Why Is Production More Volatile Than Sales? Theory and Evidence on the Stockout-Avoidance Motive for Inventory-Holding," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 481-510, May.
  35. Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1991. "Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, Winter.
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