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Fixed Costs: The Demise of Marginal q

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • John V. Leahy

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo J. Caballero & John V. Leahy, 1996. "Fixed Costs: The Demise of Marginal q," NBER Working Papers 5508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5508
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert P. Flood & Peter M. Garber, 1991. "The Linkage Between Speculative Attack and Target Zone Models of Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1367-1372.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-273, March.
    5. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper & Laura Power, 1999. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 921-946, September.
    6. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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