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Mr. Willy A Hoffmaister and Mr. Jens R Clausen

I. I ntroduction For decades, economists and policy makers alike have mused on inventory behavior and details of such little importance that the business cycle . Views on the relevance of inventories have ranged from “details of such little importance that economists could safely ignore” to “essential to achieving a better understanding not only of the macroeconomics of the business cycle but also of the microeconomics of the firm” ( Blinder, 1990 , p. 74). More recently, some economists have attributed the “Great Moderation” in the United States (Kim and

Mr. Willy A Hoffmaister and Mr. Jens R Clausen
In the United States and a few European countries, inventory behavior is mainly the outcome of demand shocks: a standard buffer-stock model best characterizes these economies. But most European countries are described by a modified buffer-stock model where supply shocks dominate. In contrast to the United States, inventories boost growth with a one-year lag in Europe. Moreover, inventories provide limited information to improve growth forecasts particularly when a modified buffer-stock model characterizes inventory behavior.
Mr. Willy A Hoffmaister and Mr. Jens R Clausen

Front Matter Page European Department Authorized for distribution by Ashoka Mody Contents I. Introduction II. Inventory Behavior A. Stylized Facts B. How Well Do Simple Inventory Models Fit the Data? III. The Role of Inventories in Forecasting Output Growth A. Time-Series Models for Output Growth B. Forecast Performance IV. Final Remarks References Tables 1. Inventory Investment and the Business Cycle 2. Basic Statistics 3. Inventory Model Scorecard 4. Explaining the Basic Stylized Facts of Inventory Behavior 5

Mr. Guido De Blasio
The paper examines micro data on Italian manufacturing firms' inventory behavior to test the Meltzer (1960) hypothesis according to which firms substitute trade credit for bank credit during periods of monetary tightening. It finds that their inventory investment is constrained by the availability of trade credit. As for the magnitude of the substitution effect, however, this study finds that it is not sizable. This is in line with the micro theories of trade credit and the evidence on actual firm practices, according to which credit terms display modest variations over time.
Mr. Guido De Blasio

chronology. Appropriateness of the balance sheet variables. Sensitivity to more restrictive definition of bank-dependent firms. Endogeneity of financial variables. LIQ and TC might be endogenous and might be proxying for other factors that could affect inventory behavior. For example, it could be that LIQ and TC are proxies for innovations in firm profitability. Also, firms might be using TC as a price discrimination tool to buy market shares. That is, firms that have a high value of LIQ and TC are, for some reasons, devoting more resources to inventory investment

Mr. Yungsan Kim and Woon Gyu Choi

Front Matter Page Authorized for distribution by Reza Vaez-Zadeh Contents I. Introduction II. Inventory Behavior: Theoretical Background A. Related Studies on Inventory Behavior B. A Conceptual Framework for Inventory Behavior III. Empirical Model Specifications IV. The Data V. Regression Results A. Regressions for the Inventory-Sales Relation B. Regressions for the Dynamic Adjustment of Inventories C. Monetary Policy Effects and Access to Financial Markets D. Cash Flow and Inventory Investment E. Robustness Checks VI

Mr. Yungsan Kim and Woon Gyu Choi
Based on an analysis of high-frequency panel data for U.S. firms, this paper finds that inventory investment has been liquidity-constrained in most periods during 1975-97, but less so, or not at all, during recessions. This result can be justified on the grounds that inventory fluctuations are largely attributable to unexpected sales shocks, and that firms increase liquid assets before recessions. Moreover, this results holds irrespective of whether the firm has a bond rating, contrary to the finding of Kashyap, Lamont, and Stein (1994) that inventory investment is liquidity-constrained during recessions only for firms without bond ratings.
International Monetary Fund
This paper presents a neoclassical model that explains the observed empirical relationship between government spending and world commodity supplies and the real exchange rate and real commodity prices. It is shown that fiscal expansion and increasing world commodity supplies simultaneously lead to an appreciation of the real exchange rate and a decline in relative commodity prices. This structural model is estimated and its forecasting performance is compared to a variety of models. We find that theory and structure help in predicting commodity prices, although not the exchange rate, and that predictive ability increases as the forecast horizon is lengthened. MASTER FILES ROOM C-130 001