IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Inventory Signals

  • Richard Kum-yew Lai

    (Harvard Business School)

Among practitioners, inventory is often thought to be the root of all evil in operations management. The stock market hates it, the media abhors it, and managers have come to fear it. But high inventory levels can also be the result of strategic buying and high-availability strategies. The problem is that when the market sees lots of inventory, it cannot tell whether it is because of poor or smart operations. We hypothesize that inventory has a signaling role. In our model, publicly- traded firms use inventory levels to signal their operational competence to the market. There is a separating equilibrium that leads some firms to maintain inventory levels below what their capability could achieve. We offer this as one explanation why, for example, stock-outs are pervasive even among operationally competent firms. We provide empirical evidence for the assumptions behind this inventory signaling hypothesis: (1) the market cannot tell the difference between “good” and “bad” inventory; and (2) the counterfactual: the market punishes firms when it can tell that their inventory is bad, such as when they write off supplies. Consistent with these assumptions, we find that inventory levels do not explain firm value. And on average, stocks suffer an abnormal negative return of 7% in the month of announcing inventory write-offs.

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: http://128.118.178.162/eps/mic/papers/0509/0509001.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0509001.

as
in new window

Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 04 Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0509001
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 30. Earlier version: Harvard NOM Working Paper No. 05-15
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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. Stein, Jeremy C, 1988. "Takeover Threats and Managerial Myopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 61-80, February.
  2. Andrew J. Clark & Herbert Scarf, 2004. "Optimal Policies for a Multi-Echelon Inventory Problem," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(12_supple), pages 1782-1790, December.
  3. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  4. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-36, May-June.
  5. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  6. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 1999. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Paul A. Gompers & Andrew Metrick, 1998. "Institutional Investors and Equity Prices," NBER Working Papers 6723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Paul A. Gompers & Joy L. Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. Chemmanur, Thomas J. & Ravid, S. Abraham, 1999. "Asymmetric Information, Corporate Myopia, and Capital Gains Tax Rates: An Analysis of Policy Prescriptions," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 205-231, July.
  10. Jay Ritter & Ivo Welch, 2002. "A Review of IPO Activity, Pricing, and Allocations," NBER Working Papers 8805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation : An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 293-315, January.
  12. Bengt Holmstrom & I. Ricard & Joan Costa, 1984. "Managerial Incentives and Capital Management," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 729, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  13. Rotemberg, Julio J & Scharfstein, David S, 1990. "Shareholder-Value Maximization and Product-Market Competition," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 367-91.
  14. Leland, Hayne E & Pyle, David H, 1977. "Informational Asymmetries, Financial Structure, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 371-87, May.
  15. Mitchell, Mark L & Stafford, Erik, 2000. "Managerial Decisions and Long-Term Stock Price Performance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(3), pages 287-329, July.
  16. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-77, December.
  17. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  18. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
  20. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  21. Vishal Gaur & Marshall L. Fisher & Ananth Raman, 2005. "An Econometric Analysis of Inventory Turnover Performance in Retail Services," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(2), pages 181-194, February.
  22. Grinblatt, Mark & Titman, Sheridan D, 1989. "Mutual Fund Performance: An Analysis of Quarterly Portfolio Holdings," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(3), pages 393-416, July.
  23. Marshall Fisher & Kamalini Ramdas & Yu-Sheng Zheng, 2001. "Ending Inventory Valuation in Multiperiod Production Scheduling," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 679-692, May.
  24. Fangruo Chen & Stefanos A. Zenios, 2005. "Introduction to the Special Issue on Incentives and Coordination in Operations Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(1), pages 1-1, January.
  25. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  26. Gérard P. Cachon & Paul H. Zipkin, 1999. "Competitive and Cooperative Inventory Policies in a Two-Stage Supply Chain," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 936-953, July.
  27. Ananth V. Iyer & Leroy B. Schwarz & Stefanos A. Zenios, 2005. "A Principal-Agent Model for Product Specification and Production," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(1), pages 106-119, January.
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:wpa:wuwpmi:0509001. 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: (EconWPA)

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.