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Inventory (Dis)Investment, Internal Finance Fluctuations, and the Business Cycle

  • Robert E. Carpenter

    (Emory University)

  • Steven M. Fazzari

    (Washington University and the Jerome Levy Economics Insititute)

  • Bruce C. Petersen

    (Washington University)

A well-known but under-emphasized feature of the business cycle is that the flow of internal finance is highly procyclical. We argue that finance constraints lead firms to offset a large proportion of internal finance fluctuations through inventory (dis)investment. We construct three panels of quarterly firm data, each of which contains a large fraction of aggregate inventories and covers a major inventory cycle. Our findings show that the impact of internal finance on inventory investment is greater for small firms than large, consistent with the existence of finance constraints. Internal finance, however, is also economically important for large firms. These results explain part of the large cyclical amplitude of inventory investment. Furthermore, heterogeneity in our results across time, especially between the 1981-82 recession and the 1990-91 recession, helps explain differences in the composition of aggregate investment shortfalls during contractions.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9401001.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 12 Jan 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9401001
Note: 2 word for windows binary files. File 1 has 29 pages text with one table enclosed. File 2 has 5 tables in 4 pages. 3 figures accompany this paper but are not enclosed. They are available upon request from Carpenter
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  1. Kashyap, Anil K & Stein, Jeremy C & Wilcox, David W, 1993. "Monetary Policy and Credit Conditions: Evidence from the Composition of External Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 78-98, March.
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  9. Oliner, Stephen D & Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1992. "Sources of the Financing Hierarchy for Business Investment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 643-54, November.
  10. Spencer Krane & Steven Braun, 1990. "Production smoothing evidence from physical-product data," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 103, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  12. Calomiris, Charles W & Hubbard, R Glenn, 1990. "Firm Heterogeneity, Internal Finance, and 'Credit Rationing.'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 90-104, March.
  13. Donald P. Morgan, 1991. "Will just-in-time inventory techniques dampen recessions?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Mar, pages 21-33.
  14. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1989. "Corporate structure, liquidity, and investment: evidence from Japanese industrial groups," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 82, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  17. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  18. Michael Devereux & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1989. "Investment, Finacial Factors and Cash Flow: Evidence From UK Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 3116, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Martin S. Eichenbaum, 1988. "Some Empirical Evidence on the Production Level and Production Cost Smoothing Models of Inventory Investment," NBER Working Papers 2523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Hubbard, R Glenn & Kashyap, Anil K, 1992. "Internal Net Worth and the Investment Process: An Application to U.S. Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 506-34, June.
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  24. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  25. Whited, Toni M., 1991. "Investment and financial asset accumulation," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 307-334, December.
  26. Kashyap, Anil K & Lamont, Owen A & Stein, Jeremy C, 1994. "Credit Conditions and the Cyclical Behavior of Inventories," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 565-92, August.
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  28. Dufour, Jean-Marie, 1993. "The importance of seasonality in inventory models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1-2), pages 129-133.
  29. George L. Perry & Charles L. Schultze, 1993. "Was This Recession Different? Are They All Different?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 145-212.
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