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Fixed Costs: The Demise of Marginal q

  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • John V. Leahy

The standard version of q theory, in which investment is positively related to marginal q, breaks down in the presence of fixed costs of adjustment. With fixed costs, investment is a non-monotonic function of q. Therefore its inverse, which is the traditional investment function, does not exist. Depending upon auxiliary assumptions, the correlation between investment and marginal q can be either positive or negative. Given certain homogeneity assumptions, a version of the theory based on average q still holds, although under the same assumptions profits and sales perform as well as average q. More generally, q is no longer a sufficient statistic.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5508.

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Date of creation: Mar 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5508
Note: EFG
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  1. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-24, January.
  2. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," NBER Working Papers 5260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gilchrist, Simon & Himmelberg, Charles P., 1995. "Evidence on the role of cash flow for investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 541-572, December.
  4. Andrew B. Abel & Olivier J. Blanchard, 1983. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," NBER Working Papers 1122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Flood, Robert P & Garber, Peter M, 1991. "The Linkage between Speculative Attack and Target Zone Models of Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1367-72, November.
  6. Mark E. Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1998. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 409-429, April.
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