43 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2000 Last revised: 24 Sep 2010
Date Written: October 1995
We study twenty years of monthly production data for 11 manufacturing industries in 19 countries. Using the fact that in some countries production virtually shuts down for one summer month, together with the differences in the timing of aggregate cyclical fluctuations, we are able to learn about the cost structure of different industries. Our primary finding is that during a boom year summer shut-downs are shorter. Rather than increasing production further during the rest of the year, producers reallocate activity from high output months to low output months. We also find that there are important seasonal/cyclical interactions common to all industries within a given country, and that these countries effects are larger than the pure industry effects. The correlation of the cross-country differences with measures of taxation and labor market structure suggests the possibility that differences in the willingness (and ability) to substitute labor intertemporally are responsible for the variation.
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