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Creator: Bhandari, Anmol and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 560 Abstract:
We develop a theory of sweat equity—which is the value of business owners’ time and expenses to build customer bases, client lists, and other intangible assets. We discipline the theory using data from U.S. national accounts, business censuses, and brokered sales to estimate a value for sweat equity for the private business sector equal to 1.2 times U.S. GDP, which is roughly the value of fixed assets in use in these businesses. Although latent, the equity values are positively correlated with business incomes, ages, and standard measures of markups based on accounting data, but not with financial assets of owners or standard measures of business total factor productivity (TFP). We use our theory to show that abstracting from sweat activity leads to a significant understatement of the impacts of lowering tax rates on business incomes—on both the extensive and intensive margins. We also document large differences in the effective tax rates and the effects of tax changes for owner and employee labor inputs. Lower tax rates on owners results in increased self-employment and smaller firm sizes, whereas lower rates on employees has the opposite effects. Allowing for financial constraints and superstar firms does not overturn our main findings.
Palabra clave: Intangibles and Business valuation Tema: E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT), and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Bhandari, Anmol, Birinci, Serdar, McGrattan, Ellen R., and See, Kurt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 568 Abstract:
This paper examines the reliability of widely used surveys on U.S. businesses. We compare survey responses of business owners with administrative data and document large inconsistencies in business incomes, receipts, and the number of owners. We document problems due to nonrepresentative samples and measurement errors. Nonrepresentativeness is reflected in undersampling of owners with low incomes. Measurement errors arise because respondents do not refer to relevant documents and possibly because of framing issues. We discuss implications for statistics of interest, such as business valuations and returns. We conclude that predictions based on current survey data should be treated with caution.
Palabra clave: Business taxes and valuation, Intangibles, and Survey data Tema: H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT), C83 - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods, and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Thomas, Julia Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 302 Abstract:
Previous research has suggested that discrete and occasional plant-level capital adjustments have significant aggregate implications. In particular, it has been argued that changes in plants’ willingness to invest in response to aggregate shocks can at times generate large movements in total investment demand. In this study, I re-assess these predictions in a general equilibrium environment. Specifically, assuming nonconvex costs of capital adjustment, I derive generalized (S,s) adjustment rules yielding lumpy plant-level investment within an otherwise standard equilibrium business cycle model. In contrast to previous partial equilibrium analyses, model results reveal that the aggregate effects of lumpy investment are negligible. In general equilibrium, households’ preference for relatively smooth consumption profiles offsets changes in aggregate investment demand implied by the introduction of lumpy plant-level investment. As a result, adjustments in wages and interest rates yield quantity dynamics that are virtually indistinguishable from the standard model.
Palabra clave: Lumpy Investment, (S,s) Adjustment, and Business Cycles Tema: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 291 Abstract:
Manufacturing plants have a clear life cycle: they are born small, grow substantially as they age, and eventually die. Economists have long thought that this life cycle is driven by the accumulation of plant-specific knowledge, here called organization capital. Theory suggests that where plants are in the life cycle determines the size of the payments, or dividends, plant owners receive from organization capital. These payments are compensation for the interest cost to plant owners of waiting for their plants to grow. We build a quantitative growth model of the life cycle of plants and use it, along with U.S. data, to infer the overall size of these payments. They turn out to be quite large—more than one-third the size of the payments plant owners receive from physical capital, net of new investment, and more than 40% of payments from all forms of intangible capital.
Tema: B41 - Economic Methodology, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity, and E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 407 Abstract:
Appendix A provides firm-level and industry-level evidence that is consistent with several key features of our model, including the predictions that rates of return increase with a firm’s intangible investments and foreign affiliate rates of return increase with age and with their parents’ R&D intensity. Appendix B provides details for the computation of our model’s equilibrium paths, the construction of model national and international accounts, and the sensitivity of our main findings to alternative parameterizations of the model. We demonstrate that the main finding of our paper—namely, that the mismeasurement of capital accounts for roughly 60 percent of the gap in FDI returns—is robust to alternative choices of income shares, depreciation rates, and tax rates, assuming the same procedure is followed in setting exogenous parameters governing the model’s current account. Appendix C demonstrates that adding technology capital and locations to an otherwise standard two-country general equilibrium model has a large impact on the predicted behavior of labor productivity and net exports.
Tema: F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business and F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 406 Abstract:
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates the return on investments of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinational companies over the period 1982–2006 averaged 9.4 percent annually after taxes; U.S. subsidiaries of foreign multinationals averaged only 3.2 percent. Two factors distort BEA returns: technology capital and plant-specific intangible capital. Technology capital is accumulated know-how from intangible investments in R&D, brands, and organizations that can be used in foreign and domestic locations. Used abroad, it generates profits for foreign subsidiaries with no foreign direct investment (FDI). Plant-specific intangible capital in foreign subsidiaries is expensed abroad, lowering current profits on FDI and increasing future profits. We develop a multicountry general equilibrium model with an essential role for FDI and apply the BEA’s methodology to construct economic statistics for the model economy. We estimate that mismeasurement of intangible investments accounts for over 60 percent of the difference in BEA returns.
Tema: F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business and F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
Creator: Khan, Aubhik and Thomas, Julia Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 306 Abstract:
Recent empirical analysis has found nonlinearities to be important in understanding aggregated investment. Using an equilibrium business cycle model, we search for aggregate nonlinearities arising from the introduction of nonconvex capital adjustment costs. We find that, while such costs lead to nontrivial nonlinearities in aggregate investment demand, equilibrium investment is effectively unchanged. Our finding, based on a model in which aggregate fluctuations arise through exogenous changes in total factor productivity, is robust to the introduction of shocks to the relative price of investment goods.
Palabra clave: Adjustment costs, Business cycles, Nonlinearities, and Lumpy investment Tema: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 454 Abstract:
Empirical studies quantifying the economic effects of increased foreign direct investment (FDI) have not provided conclusive evidence that they are positive, as theory predicts. This paper shows that the lack of empirical evidence is consistent with theory if countries are in transition to FDI openness. Anticipated welfare gains lead to temporary declines in domestic investment and employment. Also, growth measures miss some intangible FDI, which is expensed from company profits. The reconciliation of theory and evidence is accomplished with a multicountry dynamic general equilibrium model parameterized with data from a sample of 104 countries during 1980–2005. Although no systematic benefits of FDI openness are found, the model demonstrates that the eventual gains in growth and welfare can be huge, especially for small countries.
Palabra clave: Development, Technology capital, and Foreign direct investment Tema: O32 - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D, F21 - International Investment; Long-term Capital Movements, and F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business
Creator: Khan, Aubhik and Thomas, Julia Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 329 Abstract:
We develop an equilibrium business cycle model where producers of final goods pursue generalized (S,s) inventory policies with respect to intermediate goods due to nonconvex factor adjustment costs. When calibrated to reproduce the average inventory-to-sales ratio in postwar U.S. data, our model explains over half of the cyclical variability of inventory investment. Moreover, inventory accumulation is strongly procyclical, and production is more volatile than sales, as in the data.
The comovement between inventory investment and final sales is often interpreted as evidence that inventories amplify aggregate fluctuations. In contrast, our model economy exhibits a business cycle similar to that of a comparable benchmark without inventories, though we do observe somewhat higher variability in employment, and lower variability in consumption and investment. Thus, our equilibrium analysis reveals that the presence of inventories does not substantially raise the cyclical variability of production, because it dampens movements in final sales.
Palabra clave: Business cycles and (S,s) inventories Tema: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Khan, Aubhik and Thomas, Julia Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 352 Abstract:
We solve equilibrium models of lumpy investment wherein establishments face persistent shocks to common and plant-specific productivity. Nonconvex adjustment costs lead plants to pursue generalized (S, s) rules with respect to capital; thus, their investments are lumpy. In partial equilibrium, this yields substantial skewness and kurtosis in aggregate investment, though, with differences in plant-level productivity, these nonlinearities are far less pronounced. Moreover, nonconvex costs, like quadratic adjustment costs, increase the persistence of aggregate investment, yielding a better match with the data. In general equilibrium, aggregate nonlinearities disappear, and investment rates are very persistent, regardless of adjustment costs. While the aggregate implications of lumpy investment change substantially in equilibrium, the inclusion of fixed costs or idiosyncratic shocks makes the average distribution of plant investment rates largely invariant to market-clearing movements in real wages and interest rates. Nonetheless, we find that understanding the dynamics of plant-level investment requires general equilibrium analysis.
Palabra clave: Policies, (S,s), Nonlinearities, Lumpy investment, and Establishment investment Tema: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity