IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics

  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Eduardo M.R.A. Engel

The basic premise of this paper is that understanding aggregate dynamics requires considering that agents are heterogeneous and that they do not adjust continuously to the shocks they perceive. We provide a general characterization of lumpy behavior at the microeconomic level in terms of an adjustment hazard function, that relates the probability that a unit adjusts to the deviation of its state variable from what would be its optimal level if frictions were momentarily removed. We argue that adjustment hazards that are eventually increasing with respect to the magnitude of this deviation are likely to be realistic. This allows for testable restrictions and a simple comparison with the partial adjustment model, which corresponds to the constant hazard case. We show how non-constant hazards - in particular, increasing hazards - generate non-linearities and history dependence in aggregate equations. We present an example based on U.S. Manufacturing employment and job flows, and find that increasing hazard models outperform partial adjustment models in describing aggregate employment dynamics; the improvement is most notorious during deep recessions and brisk expansions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4090.

in new window

Date of creation: Jun 1992
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108 (2), May 1993, 359-383.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4090
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Andrew S. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(4), pages 703-725.
  2. Grossman, Sanford J & Laroque, Guy, 1990. "Asset Pricing and Optimal Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Illiquid Durable Consumption Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 25-51, January.
  3. Alan S. Blinder, 1981. "Retail Inventory Behavior and Business Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(2), pages 443-520.
  4. Robert J. Barro, 1972. "A Theory of Monopolistic Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 17-26.
  5. Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-55, December.
  6. Eytan Sheshinski & Yoram Weiss, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303.
  7. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1984. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 735, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross job creation, gross job destruction and employment reallocation," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 1991. "State-Dependent Pricing and the Dynamics of Money and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 683-708.
  10. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1988. "Labor Demand and the Structure of Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 2572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Avner Bar-Ilan & Alan S. Blinder, 1987. "The Life-Cycle Permanent-Income Model and Consumer Durables," NBER Working Papers 2149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Benabou, Roland, 1987. "Optimal price dynamics and speculation with a storable good," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8708, CEPREMAP.
  13. Thomas J. Sargent, 1978. "Estimation of dynamic labor demand schedules under rational expectations," Staff Report 27, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4090. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.