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The Cross-section of Firms over the Business Cycle: New Facts and a DSGE Exploration

Ruediger Bachmann () and Christian Bayer ()

No 2810, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich

Abstract: Using a German firm-level data set, this paper is the first to jointly study the cyclical properties of the cross-sections of firm-level real value added and Solow residual innovations, as well as capital and employment adjustment. We find two new business cycle facts: 1) The cross-sectional standard deviation of firm-level innovations in the Solow residual, value added and employment is robustly and significantly countercyclical. 2) The cross-sectional standard deviation of firm-level investment is procyclical. We show that a heterogeneous-firm RBC model with quantitatively realistic countercyclically disperse innovations in the firm-level Solow residual and non-convex adjustment costs calibrated to the non-Gaussian features of the steady state investment rate distribution, produces investment dispersion that positively comoves with the cycle, with a correlation coefficient of 0.58, compared to 0.45 in the data. We argue more generally that the cross-sectional business cycle dynamics impose tight empirical restrictions on structural parameters and stochastic properties of driving forces in heterogeneous-firm models, and are therefore paramount in the calibration of these models.

Keywords: Ss model; RBC model; cross-sectional firm dynamics; lumpy investment; countercyclical risk; aggregate shocks; idiosyncratic shocks; heterogeneous firms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E20 E22 E30 E32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Related works:
Working Paper: The Cross-section of Firms over the Business Cycle: New Facts and a DSGE Exploration (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: The cross-section of firms over the business cycle: new facts and a DSGE exploration (2009) Downloads
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