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Lumpy Investment, Lumpy Inventories

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  • Rüdiger Bachmann
  • Lin Ma

Abstract

How do microeconomic frictions and microeconomic heterogeneity affect macroeconomic dynamics? We revisit the recent claim in the literature that nonconvex capital adjustment costs do not matter for aggregate dynamics. We argue that the neutrality of fixed adjustment frictions in general equilibrium hinges on the assumption of capital good homogeneity. With only one type of capital good to save and invest in, fixed capital investment dynamics are tightly linked to consumption dynamics, which are similar across lumpy and frictionless investment models. With capital goods heterogeneity, households optimally substitute between different ways of saving, which renders their consumption/saving decisions more sensitive to capital adjustment frictions. We quantify our arguments by introducing inventories into a two-sector lumpy investment model. We find that with inventories, frictionless fixed capital adjustment leads to an initial response of fixed capital investment to productivity shocks that is 50% higher than with capital adjustment frictions, calibrated to the fraction of plants undergoing lumpy investment episodes. We argue more generally that the details of how general equilibrium is introduced into the physical environment of a model matters for the aggregate relevance of microeconomic frictions and microeconomic heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Rüdiger Bachmann & Lin Ma, 2012. "Lumpy Investment, Lumpy Inventories," NBER Working Papers 17924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17924
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    1. Reiter, Michael & Sveen, Tommy & Weinke, Lutz, 2009. "Lumpy Investment and State-Dependent Pricing in General Equilibrium," Economics Series 239, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    2. Jianjun Miao & Pengfei Wang, 2014. "Lumpy Investment and Corporate Tax Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(6), pages 1171-1203, September.
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    10. Ricardo J. Caballero, 2010. "Macroeconomics after the Crisis: Time to Deal with the Pretense-of-Knowledge Syndrome," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 85-102, Fall.
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    12. Michael K. Johnston, 2009. "Real and Nominal Frictions within the Firm: How Lumpy Investment Matters for Price Adjustment," Staff Working Papers 09-36, Bank of Canada.
    13. Christopher L. House, 2008. "Fixed Costs and Long-Lived Investments," NBER Working Papers 14402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. R?diger Bachmann & Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 2013. "Aggregate Implications of Lumpy Investment: New Evidence and a DSGE Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-67, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roys, Nicolas, 2014. "Optimal investment policy with fixed adjustment costs and complete irreversibility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 416-419.
    2. Douglas, Ella & Lont, David & Scott, Tom, 2014. "Finance company failure in New Zealand during 2006–2009: Predictable failures?," Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 277-295.
    3. Andreas Bachmann, 2015. "Lumpy investment and variable capacity utilization: firm-level and macroeconomic implications," Diskussionsschriften dp1510, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    4. Stephen J. Terry, 2017. "Alternative Methods for Solving Heterogeneous Firm Models," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(6), pages 1081-1111, September.
    5. Christian Bayer & Volker Tjaden, 2016. "Large Open Economies and Fixed Costs of Capital Adjustment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 21, pages 125-146, July.
    6. Adam Copeland & George Hall & Louis J. Maccini, 2019. "Interest Rates and the Market for New Light Vehicles," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 51(5), pages 1137-1168, August.
    7. Adão, Bernardino & Silva, André C., 2020. "The effect of firm cash holdings on monetary policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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