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Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach

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

Abstract

In this paper we derive a model of aggregate investment that builds from the lumpy microeconomic behavior of firms facing stochastic fixed adjustment costs. Instead of the standard (S,s) bands, firms' optimal adjustment policies are probabilistic, with a probability of adjusting (adjustment hazard) that grows smoothly with firms' disequilibria. Depending upon the specification of the distribution of fixed adjustment costs, the adjustment hazards approach encompasses models ranging from the very non-linear (S,s) model to the linear partial adjustment model. Except for the latter extreme, the processes for aggregate investment obtained from adding up the actions of firms subject to aggregate and idiosyncratic shocks, is highly non-linear. Estimating the aggregate model by maximum likelihood, we find clear evidence supporting non-linear models over linear ones for postwar sectoral U.S. manufacturing equipment and structures investment. For a given sequence of aggregate shocks, the nonlinear model estimated generates brisker expansions and - to a lesser extent - sharper contractions than its linear counterpart. These features fit well the observed positive skewness and large kurtosis of U.S. manufacturing sectoral investment/capital ratios.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1994. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," NBER Working Papers 4887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4887
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1993. "Durable Goods: An Explanation for Their Slow Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 351-384, April.
    2. Guiseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1994. "Irreversibility and Aggregate Investment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 223-246.
    3. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "The Determinants of Investment: Another Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 71-75, May.
    4. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1990. "Kinked Adjustment Costs and Aggregate Dynamics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 237-296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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