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

Putty-Clay and Investment: A Business Cycle Analysis

  • Simon Gilchrist
  • John C. Williams

This paper develops a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with putty-clay technology that incorporates embodied technology, investment irreversibility, and variable capacity utilization. Low short-run capital-labor substitutability native to the putty-clay framework induces the putty-clay effect of a tight link between changes in capacity and movements in employment and output. As a result, persistent shocks to technology or factor prices generate business cycle dynamics absent in standard neoclassical models, including a prolonged lump-shaped response of hours, persistence in output growth, and positive comovement in the forecastable components of output and hours. Capacity constraints result in nonlinear aggregate production function that implies asymmetric responses to large shocks with recessions steeper and deeper than expansions. Minimum distance estimation of a two-sector model that nests putty-clay and neoclassical production technologies supports a significant role for putty-clay capital in explaining business-cycle and medium-run dynamics.

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 6812.

in new window

Date of creation: Nov 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Gilchrist, Simon and John C. Williams. "Putty-Clay And Investment: A Business Cycle Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, 2000, v108(5,Oct), 928-960.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6812
Note: ME 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. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-62, June.
  2. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  3. Jess Benhabib & Aldo Rustichini, 1990. "Vintage Capital, Investment and Growth," Discussion Papers 886, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Cooley, Thomas F & Hansen, Gary D & Prescott, Edward C, 1995. "Equilibrium Business Cycles with Idle Resources and Variable Capacity Utilization," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 6(1), pages 35-49, June.
  6. Thomas F. Cooley & Jeremy Greenwood & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 1994. "The replacement problem," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 95, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Sichel, D.E., 1988. "Business Cycle Asymmetry: A Deeper Look," Papers 85, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  8. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  9. Licandro, Omar & Germain, Marc & Boucekkine, Raouf, 1996. "Replacement echoes in the vintage capital growth model," UC3M Working papers. Economics 4096, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  10. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. 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.
  12. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "The Aggregate Implications of Machine Replacement: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Oliver J. Blanchard, 1997. "The Medium Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 89-158.
  14. Cass, David & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "The Implications of Alternative Saving and Expectations Hypotheses for Choices of Technique and Patterns of Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 586-627, Part II, .
  15. E. Sheshinski, 1967. "Balanced Growth and Stability in the Johansen Vintage Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 239-248.
  16. Simon M. Potter, 1993. "A Nonlinear Approach to U.S. GNP," UCLA Economics Working Papers 693, UCLA Department of Economics.
  17. Ando, Albert K, et al, 1974. "On the Role of Expectations of Price and Technological Change in an Investment Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(2), pages 384-414, June.
  18. Lucas, Robert E., 1977. "Understanding business cycles," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 7-29, January.
  19. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  20. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin S, 1996. "Small-Sample Properties of GMM-Based Wald Tests," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(3), pages 294-308, July.
  21. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," Papers 0062, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  22. Neftci, Salih N, 1984. "Are Economic Time Series Asymmetric over the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 307-28, April.
  23. Ray C. Fair & John B. Taylor, 1980. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 564, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  24. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 593-624.
  25. Edmond S. Phelps, 1962. "Substitution, Fixed Proportions, Growth and Distribution," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 133, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  26. Cogley, Timothy & Nason, James M, 1995. "Output Dynamics in Real-Business-Cycle Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 492-511, June.
  27. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1996. "Real-Business-Cycle Models and the Forecastable Movements in Output, Hours, and Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 71-89, March.
  28. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1976. "Optimal Growth in a Putty-Clay Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(5), pages 867-78, September.
  29. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1995. "Putty-clay capital and energy," Working Papers 548, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  30. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1994. "On the Timing and Efficiency of Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 4768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Judd, Kenneth L., 1992. "Projection methods for solving aggregate growth models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 410-452, December.
  32. Anderson, Gary & Moore, George, 1985. "A linear algebraic procedure for solving linear perfect foresight models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-252.
  33. James Peery Cover, 1992. "Asymmetric Effects of Positive and Negative Money-Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1261-1282.
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:6812. 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.