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ISIR sessions at ASSA meetings

Each year ISIR sponsors a session at the ASSA (Allied Social Sciences Associations) Meetings in January in the USA. Historically, these sessions had focused exclusively on the topic of inventories.  From this year’s session, however, the focus have been expanded to include the related topics of business fixed investment and business cycles.

The International Society for Inventory Research (ISIR) sponsors a session each year at the ASSA meetings. The 2020 meetings was held on January 3 – 5, 2020 in San Diego, CA. Co-organized by Pablo Ottonello of the University of Michigan and Nicolas Crouzet of Northwestern, Kellog.The program was organized by Sara Moreira and Alessandra Peters.

discussant: George Alessandria
Julia Thomas: “Business Formation and Economic Growth Beyond the Great Recession” (joint with Aubhik Khan and Tatsuro Senga).
discussant: Laura Castillo-Martinez
discussant: Doireann Fitzgerald

The International Society for Inventory Research was hold a session at the ASSA meetings in Philadelphia. It took place on Saturday, January 5, 2019, 10:15am-12:15pm, at the Hilton Atlanta, 304. The session was organized by Pablo Ottonello of the University of Michigan and Thomas Winberry of the University of Chicago.

For more information (including abstracts of the papers), please go here

Heterogeneity and Aggregate Dynamics: Lessons from the Micro Data

1. The Effect of the Credit Crunch on Output Price Dynamics: The Corporate Inventory and Liquidity Management Channel
Ryan Kim, Columbia University

Discussant: George Alessandria, University of Rochester

2. Growing Productivity without Growing Wages: The Micro-Level Anatomy of the Aggregate Labor Share Decline
Matthias Kehrig, Duke University
Nicolas Vincent, HEC Montreal

Discussant: Ezra Oberfield, Princeton University

3. The Real Effects of Credit Booms and Busts: A County-Level Analysis
Simon Gilchrist, New York University
Michael Siemer, Federal Reserve Board
Egon Zakrajsek, Federal Reserve Board

Discussant: Monika Piazzesi, Stanford University

Summary of ISIR session at the January 2018 ASSA meetings

James Kahn, Economics Section Head

The ISIR sponsored a session at the 2018 meetings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, organized by Felipe Schwartzman (San Francisco Fed) and Thomas Winberry (Chicago-Booth), and entitled “Aggregate Shocks and Investment Dynamics: Lessons From the Micro Data.” There were four presentations scheduled, each with discussants. Unfortunately, due to the previous day’s snowstorm and resulting weather delays, Joseph Vavra was unable to make it to the session, so there were only three presentations.The session was very well attended, with a standing-room only crowd of approximately 20-25 attendees at the session in addition to participants.

Short and Long Run Uncertainty

Jose Maria Barrero, Stanford University
Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University
Ian Wright, Goldman Sachs

Uncertainty appears to have both a short-run and a long-run component, which we measure using firm and macro implied volatility data from options of 30 days to 5 years duration. We ask what may be driving uncertainty over these different time horizons, finding that oil price volatility is particularly important for short-run uncertainty, policy uncertainty and interest rate volatility are particularly important for long-run uncertainty, while currency volatility and CEO turnover appear to equally impact short-and long-run uncertainty. Examining a panel of over 4,000 firms from 1996 to 2016 we find that R&D is relatively more sensitive to long-run uncertainty than investment, and in turn investment is relatively more sensitive to long-run uncertainty than hiring. In a simulation model we investigate the channels underlying this pecking-order response to long-run uncertainty, and show that lower depreciation rates and higher adjustment costs lead R&D and investment to be more sensitive to longerrun uncertainty than hiring. Collectively, these results suggest that recent events that have raised long run policy uncertainty may be particularly damaging to growth by reducing R&D and investment.

Small and Large Firms Over the Business Cycle

Nicolas Crouzet, Northwestern University
Neil Mehrotra, Brown University

Drawing from new, confidential data on income statements and balance sheets of US manufacturing firms, we provide evidence on the relationship between size, cyclicality and financial frictions. First, while sales and investment of smaller firms tend to fluctuate more over the business cycle, the difference is too small to have an impact on aggregates — especially given the high and rising degree of skewness of the firm size distribution. Second, the size effect remains unchanged when directly conditioning on firm-level proxies for financial strength; moreover, while there is a size effect for sales and investment, there is none for measures of external financing. This evidence suggests that the relative behavior of small firms may not be informative about the role of financing frictions in amplifying business cycles.

Kinky Tax Policy and Abnormal Investment Behavior

Eric Zwick, University of Chicago
Qiping Xu, University of Notre Dame

This paper documents tax-minimizing investment, in which firms accelerate capital purchases near fiscal year-end to reduce taxes. Between 1984 and 2013, average investment in the fourth fiscal quarter (Q4) is 37% higher than the average of the first three fiscal quarters. Q4 investment spikes also occur internationally. We use research designs based on variation in firm tax positions, the 1986 Tax Reform Act, and international tax changes to show tax minimization causes spikes. Spikes are larger when firms face financial constraintsor higher option values of waiting until year-end. Models without a purchaseyear, tax-minimization motive are unlikely to fit the data.


Ruediger Bachmann, University of Notre Dame
Francisco Buera, Washington University-St. Louis
Kurt Mitman, Stockholm University
Thomas Winberry, University of Chicago

For more information (including links to the papers), please go to

Summary of ISIR session at the January 2017 ASSA meetings

The International Society for Inventory Research had a session at the ASSA meetings in Chicago on Saturday, January 7, 2017, 8am-10am, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, Jackson Park. The session was organized by Felipe Schwartzman of the Richmond Fed.

For more information (including abstracts of the papers), please go to

Aggregate Shocks and Investment Dynamics: A Granular View

Default Risk and Aggregate Fluctuations in an Economy with Production Heterogeneity
Aubhik Khan, Ohio State University
Julia K. Thomas, Ohio State University
Tatsuro Senga, Ohio State University

The Role of Firm Heterogeneity and Financial Frictions in Monetary Transmission
Thomas Winberry, University of Chicago
Pablo Ottonello, University of Michigan
Short-Term Shocks and Long-Term Investment
Stephen J. Terry, Boston University
Itay Saporta-Eksten, Tel Aviv University

Globalization Boom and Bust: A Study of United States Automobile Exports from 1913 to 1940
Mario Crucini, Vanderbilt University
Dong Cheng, Vanderbilt University
Hyunseung Oh, Vanderbilt University
Hakan Yilmazkuday, Vanderbilt University

Juliana Salomao, University of Minnesota
Felipe Schwartzman, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Robert Chirinko, University of Illinois-Chicago
Zhu Wang, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

James Kahn
Economics Section Head
International Society for Inventory Research

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