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Idiosyncratic shocks and the role of nonconvexities in plant and aggregate investment dynamics

Listed author(s):
  • Julia K. Thomas
  • Aubhik Khan

We solve the first general equilibrium model of lumpy investment allowing a quantitative match with recent empirical evidence on establishment-level investment dynamics. In our model, establishments are subject to both persistent aggregate and persistent idiosyncratic shocks, and they face nonconvex adjustment costs and irreversibilities that lead them to pursue asymmetric generalized (S,s) investment policies. Previous partial equilibrium analysis suggests that this class of model embeds mechanisms that yield empirically relevant aggregate nonlinearities. While the aggregate implications of lumpy investment are very sensitive to general equilibrium, we find that the inclusion of idiosyncratic shocks yields plant-level investment dynamics that are essentially unaffected by movements in interest rates. If idiosyncratic shocks are a relatively significant source of uncertainty, this suggests there may be minimal loss in the common practice of analyzing investment dynamics under a fixed interest rate assumption, provided that attention is confined to microeconomic implications. However, we show that there is a tension in referencing large idiosyncratic uncertainty as the basis for partial equilibrium examinations of the consequences of lumpy investment. Specifically, even small idiosyncratic shocks sharply reduce the role of nonconvexities in explaining establishment-level investment. Related to this, we find that, even in disequilibrium, aggregate nonlinearities arise only when idiosyncratic shocks are small relative to aggregate shocks.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 455.

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Date of creation: 2004
Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:455
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
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  4. Julia K. Thomas, 2002. "Is Lumpy Investment Relevant for the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 508-534, June.
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  8. Diego A. Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2006. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 167-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert S. Chirinko, 1992. "Business Fixed Investment Spending: A Critical survey of Modeling Strategies, Empirical Results, and Policy Implications," Working Papers 9213, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  10. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 1999. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 783-826, July.
  11. 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.
  12. R?diger Bachmann & Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 2013. "Aggregate Implications of Lumpy Investment: New Evidence and a DSGE Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-67, October.
  13. Valderrama, Diego, 2007. "Statistical nonlinearities in the business cycle: A challenge for the canonical RBC model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 2957-2983, September.
  14. Gourio, Francois & Kashyap, Anil K, 2007. "Investment spikes: New facts and a general equilibrium exploration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(Supplemen), pages 1-22, September.
  15. Marcelo L. Veracierto, 2002. "Plant-Level Irreversible Investment and Equilibrium Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 181-197, March.
  16. Khan, Aubhik & Thomas, Julia K., 2003. "Nonconvex factor adjustments in equilibrium business cycle models: do nonlinearities matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 331-360, March.
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  24. repec:cup:macdyn:v:1:y:1997:i:2:p:387-422 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Francois Gourio, 2007. "Disasters and Recoveries: A Note on the Barro-Rietz Explanation of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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  27. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
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