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Capacity Utilisation, Constraints and Price Adjustments under the Microscope

This paper analyses the interplay of capacity utilisation, capacity constraints, demand constraints and price adjustments, employing a unique firm-level data set for Swiss manufacturing firms. Theoretically, capacity constraints limit the ability of forms to expand production in the short run and lead to increases in prices. Our results show that, on the one hand, price increases are more likely during periods when firms are faced with capacity constraints. Constraints due to the shortage of labour, in particular, lead to price increases. On the other hand, we also find evidence that firms are not reluctant to reduce prices in response to demand constraints. At the macro level, the implied capacity-utilisation Phillips curve has a convex shape during periods of excess demand and a concave shape during periods of excess supply. Our results are robust to the inclusion of proxies for changes in costs and the competitive position of firms.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 09-239.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:09-239
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  1. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
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  4. Dolado, Juan J. & Maria-Dolores, Ramon & Naveira, Manuel, 2005. "Are monetary-policy reaction functions asymmetric?: The role of nonlinearity in the Phillips curve," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 485-503, February.
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  9. Lein, Sarah M., 2010. "When do firms adjust prices? Evidence from micro panel data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 696-715, September.
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  11. David Kirk, 1973. "On the numerical approximation of the bivariate normal (tetrachoric) correlation coefficient," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 259-268, June.
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  13. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Forecasting Inflation," NBER Working Papers 7023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
  15. Clark, Peter & Laxton, Douglas & Rose, David, 2001. "An Evaluation of Alternative Monetary Policy Rules in a Model with Capacity Constraints," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 42-64, February.
  16. Evans, George, 1985. "Bottlenecks and the Phillips Curve: A Disaggregated Keynesian Model of Inflation, Output, and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(378), pages 345-57, June.
  17. Schaling, Eric, 2004. "The Nonlinear Phillips Curve and Inflation Forecast Targeting: Symmetric versus Asymmetric Monetary Policy Rules," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 361-86, June.
  18. Jean-François Fagnart & Omar Licandro & Franck Portier, 1999. "Firm Heterogeneity, Capacity Utilization and the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(2), pages 433-455, April.
  19. Alberto Musso & Livio Stracca & Dick van Dijk, 2009. "Instability and Nonlinearity in the Euro-Area Phillips Curve," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 5(2), pages 181-212, June.
  20. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
  21. Tiff Macklem, 1997. "Capacity constraints, price adjustment, and monetary policy," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 1997(Spring), pages 39-56.
  22. Pedro Pablo Alvarez Lois, 2000. "Endogenous capacity utilization and the asymmetric effects of monetary policy," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 469.00, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  23. Alvarez-Lois, Pedro P., 2006. "Endogenous capacity utilization and macroeconomic persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2213-2237, November.
  24. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  25. Anthony Yates, 1998. "Downward nominal rigidity and monetary policy," Bank of England working papers 82, Bank of England.
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