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Idiosyncratic Uncertainty, Capacity Utilization and the Business Cycle

  • Jean-Francois Fragnart

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Omar Licandro

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Franck Portier

    (Université de Rouen)

In a stochastic dynamic general equilibrium framework, we introduce the concept of variable capacity utilization (as opposed to the concept of capital utilization). We consider an economy where imperfectly competitive firms use a putty-clay technology and decide on their productive capacity level under uncertainty. An idiosyncratic uncertainty about the exact position of the demand curve faced by each firm explains why some productive capacities may remain idle in the sequel and why individual capacity utilization rates differ across firms. The capacity under-utilization at the aggregate level thus hides a diversity of microeconomic situations. The variablity of the capacity utilization allows for a good description of some of the main stylized facts of the busines cycle, propagates and magnifies aggregate technological shocks and generates endogenous persistence (i.e., the output growth rate displays positive serial correlation).

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 96-06.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: May 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:9606
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  1. Magill,Michael & Quinzii,Martine, 1989. "Real effects of money in general equilibrium," Discussion Paper Serie A 232, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Ramey, Valerie A, 1993. "Segment Shifts and Capacity Utilization in the U.S. Automobile Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 213-18, May.
  3. Sneessens, Henri R., 1987. "Investment and the inflation-unemployment tradeoff in a macroeconomic rationing model with monopolistic competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 781-808, April.
  4. Omar Licandro & Luis A. Puch, 2000. "Capital Utilization, Maintenance Costs and the Business Cycle," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 58, pages 143-164.
  5. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-47, October.
  6. Sneessens, Henri & Licandro, Omar & Fagnart, Jean-Francois, 1995. "Capacity utilization dynamics and market power," UC3M Working papers. Economics 3906, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  7. Omar Licandro, 1995. "A Non-Walrasian General Equilibrium Model with Monopolistic Competition and Wage Bargaining," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 37-38, pages 237-253.
  8. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1990. "Labor Hoarding and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 3556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:adr:anecst:y:1995:i:37-38:p:12 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 24, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Bils, Mark & Cho, Jang-Ok, 1994. "Cyclical factor utilization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 319-354, April.
  12. repec:adr:anecst:y:1995:i:37-38 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Kydland, Finn E. & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The workweek of capital and its cyclical implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 343-360.
  14. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum, 1994. "Factor Hoarding and the Propagation of Business Cycles Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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