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On the Economic Interpretation and Measurement of Optimal Capacity Utilization with Anticipatory Expectations

  • Catherine J. Morrison

This study builds on recent research giving the notion of capacity utilization clearer economic foundations. In this research optimal output Y* is defined as the minimum point on the firm's short-run average total cost curve, and capacity utilization is then computed as CU=Y/Y*, where Y is actual output. Here I extend these concepts to include adjustment costs due to changes in the stock of capital, and nonstatic expectations of future output demand and input prices. The more general notion of CU is shown to depend on the shadow values of the firm's quasifixed inputs, and is decomposed to isolate the effects of anticipatory expectations. An empirical comparison is then made between traditional indices and alternative economic CU measures, using annual U.S. manufacturing data 1954-80. The calculated indices exhibit plausible patterns, which can be interpreted as the effects of nonstatic expectations and adjustment costs.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1536.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1536.

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Date of creation: Jan 1985
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Publication status: published as Morrison, Catherine J. "On the Economic Interpretation and Measurement of Optimal Capacity Utilization with Anticipatory Expectations," Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 52, pp. 295-310. April 1985
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1536
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  1. J. M. Cassels, 1937. "Excess Capacity and Monopolistic Competition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 426-443.
  2. Lau, Lawrence J., 1976. "A characterization of the normalized restricted profit function," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 131-163, February.
  3. Robert E. Lucas & Jr., 1967. "Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 321.
  4. Morrison, C. J. & Berndt, E. R., 1981. "Short-run labor productivity in a dynamic model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 339-365, August.
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