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Nonlinear Aggregate Investment Dynamics: Theory and Evidence

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

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 sharp (S,s) bands, firms' adjustment policies take the form of a probability of adjustment (adjustment hazard) that responds smoothly to changes in firms' capacity gap. The model has appealing aggregation properties, and yields nonlinear aggregate time series processes. The passivity of normal times is, occasionally, more than offset by the brisk response to large accumulated shocks. Using within and out-of-sample criteria, we find that the model performs substantially better than the standard linear models of investment for postwar sectoral U.S. manufacturing equipment and structures investment data.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6420.

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Date of creation: Feb 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6420
Note: EFG
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  1. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "The Aggregate Implications of Machine Replacement: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Peter K. Clark, 1993. "Tax Incentives and Equipment Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 317-347.
  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. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building From Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Janice C. Eberly, . "Adjustment of Consumers' Durables Stocks: Evidence from Automobile Purchases," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 22-91, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  6. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
  7. Sanford J Grossman & Guy Laroque, 2003. "Asset Pricing and Optimal Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Illiquid Durable Consumption Goods," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000803, David K. Levine.
  8. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1999. "Aggregate investment," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 813-862 Elsevier.
  9. Caballero, Ricardo J & Engel, Eduardo M R A, 1993. "Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 359-83, May.
  10. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 5474.
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