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Capital Unemployment, Financial Shocks, and Investment Slumps

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  • Pablo Ottonello

    (Columbia university)

Abstract

Recoveries from financial crises are characterized by low investment rates and declines in capital stocks. This paper constructs an equilibrium framework in which financial shocks have a persistent effect on aggregate investment. The key assumption is that physical capital is traded in a decentralized market with search frictions, generating 'capital unemployment.' After a negative financial shock, the share of unemployed capital is high, and the economy dedicates more resources to absorbing existing unemployed capital into production, and less to accumulating new capital. An estimation of the model for the U.S. economy using Bayesian techniques shows that the model can generate the investment persistence and half of the output persistence observed in the Great Recession. Investment search frictions also lead to a different interpretation of the sources of business-cycle fluctuations, with a larger role for financial shocks, which account for 33% of output fluctuations. Extending the model to allow for heterogeneity in match productivity, the framework also provides a mechanism for procyclical capital reallocation, as observed in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Ottonello, 2015. "Capital Unemployment, Financial Shocks, and Investment Slumps," 2015 Meeting Papers 1153, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed015:1153
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dong, Feng & Wang, Pengfei & Wen, Yi, 2018. "A Search-Based Neoclassical Model of Capital Reallocation," Working Papers 2018-17, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Jonathan Hoddenbagh & Mikhail Dmitriev, 2017. "The Financial Accelerator and the Optimal State-Dependent Contract," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 43-65, March.
    3. Kurmann, André & Rabinovich, Stanislav, 2018. "Dynamic inefficiency in decentralized capital markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 231-256.
    4. Shai Bernstein & Emanuele Colonnelli & Ben Iverson, 2017. "Asset Allocation in Bankruptcy," NBER Working Papers 23305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Meier, Matthias, 2017. "Time to Build and the Business Cycle," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168059, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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