Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale

52 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2000 Last revised: 30 Jul 2010

See all articles by A. Craig Burnside

A. Craig Burnside

Duke University - Department of Economics; University of Glasgow - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Martin Eichenbaum

Northwestern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sergio T. Rebelo

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 1995

Abstract

This paper studies the implications of procyclical capital utilization rates for inference regarding cyclical movements in labor productivity and the degree of returns to scale. We organize our investigation around five questions that we study using a measure of capital services based on electricity consumption: (1) Is the phenomenon of near or actual short run increasing returns to labor (SRIRL) an artifact of the failure to accurately measure capital utilization rates? (2) Can we find a significant role for capital services in aggregate and industry level production technologies? (3) Is there evidence against the hypothesis of constant returns to scale? (4) Can we reject the notion that the residuals in our estimated production functions represent technology shocks? (5) How does correcting for cyclical variations in capital services affect the statistical properties of estimated aggregate technology shocks? The answer to the first two questions is: yes. The answer to the third and fourth questions is: no. The answer to the fifth question is: a lot.

Suggested Citation

Burnside, Craig and Eichenbaum, Martin and Tavares Rebelo, Sergio, Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale (May 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5125. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225190

Craig Burnside (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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University of Glasgow - Department of Economics

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Martin Eichenbaum

Northwestern University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Sergio Tavares Rebelo

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

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United States
847-467-2329 (Phone)
847-491-5719 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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