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Inventories, Liquidity, and Contractual Risk in African Manufacturing

  • Marcel Fafchamps Jan Willem Gunning
  • Remco Oostendorp

This paper tests whether the stockout/precautionary motive applies to inventories and liquid assets held by Zimbabwean manufacturing firms. The evidence indicates that involvement in imports and exports is a major source of contractual risk. Concerns about the timeliness of input deliveries and late payment by clients are primary motives behind the accumulation of inputs and, to a lesser extent, the constitution of cash reserves. This is consistent with the role of inventories as a hedge against stockout risk. We find little evidence of inventory and liquidity build-up against market risk, but this may be an artifact of the way fluctuations in sales are measured in the data. Perfect fungibility between various inventories and between inventories and liquid assets is rejected. Implications for policy are discussed.

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Paper provided by Stanford University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 97020.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:97020
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  1. Bental, Benjamin & Eden, Benjamin, 1993. "Inventories in a Competitive Environment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 863-86, October.
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  3. Miron, Jeffrey A & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1988. "Seasonality, Cost Shocks, and the Production Smoothing Models of Inventories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 877-908, July.
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  11. Milne, Alistair, 1994. "The Production Smoothing Model of Inventories Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 399-407, March.
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  13. Caplin, Andrew S, 1985. "The Variability of Aggregate Demand with (S, s) Inventory Policies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1395-1409, November.
  14. Cuthbertson, Keith & Gasparro, David, 1993. "The Determinants of Manufacturing Inventories in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(421), pages 1479-92, November.
  15. Ramey, Valerie A, 1989. "Inventories as Factors of Production and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 338-54, June.
  16. McIntosh, James, et al, 1993. "Price and Output Adjustment in a Model with Inventories: Econometric Evidence from Categorical Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 657-63, November.
  17. Eichenbaum, Martin, 1989. "Some Empirical Evidence on the Production Level and Production Cost Smoothing Models of Inventory Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 853-64, September.
  18. Kenneth D. West, 1985. "A Variance Bounds Test of the Linear Quardractic Inventory Model," NBER Working Papers 1581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Blinder, Alan S, 1986. "Can the Production Smoothing Model of Inventory Behavior Be Saved?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 431-53, August.
  20. Naish, Howard F, 1994. "Production Smoothing in the Linear Quadratic Inventory Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 864-75, July.
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  22. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1992. "Solidarity Networks in Preindustrial Societies: Rational Peasants with a Moral Economy," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 147-74, October.
  23. Blinder, Alan S, 1982. "Inventories and Sticky Prices: More on the Microfoundations of Macroeconomics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 334-48, June.
  24. Eichenbaum, Martin S., 1984. "Rational expectations and the smoothing properties of inventories of finished goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 71-96, July.
  25. Tsiang, S C, 1969. "The Precautionary Demand for Money: An Inventory Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(1), pages 99-117, Jan./Feb..
  26. Ghali, Moheb, 1974. "Inventories, Production Smoothing, and the Accelerator: Some Empirical Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 149-57, February.
  27. Kahn, James A, 1987. "Inventories and the Volatility of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 667-79, September.
  28. Irvine, F Owen, Jr, 1981. "Retail Inventory Investment and the Cost of Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 633-48, September.
  29. Ramey, Valerie A, 1991. "Nonconvex Costs and the Behavior of Inventories," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 306-34, April.
  30. Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
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