NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Daniel Vine

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Working Papers

June 2010Oil, Automobiles, and the U.S. Economy: How Much have Things Really Changed?
with Valerie A. Ramey: w16067
This paper studies the impact of oil shocks on the U.S. economy—and on the motor vehicle industry in particular—and re-examines whether the relationship has changed over time. We find remarkable stability in the response of aggregate real variables to oil shocks once we account for the extra costs imposed on the economy in the 1970s by price controls and a complex system of entitlements that led to some rationing and shortages. To investigate further why the response of real variables to oil shocks has not declined over time, we focus on the motor vehicle industry, which is considered the most important channel through which oil shocks affect the economy. We find that, contrary to common perceptions, the share of motor vehicles in total U.S. goods production has shown little decline ove...
September 2005Declining Volatility in the U.S. Automobile Industry
with Valerie A. Ramey: w11596
This paper documents the dramatic changes in volatility that occurred in the U.S. auto industry in the early 1980s. Namely, output volatility declined significantly, the covariance of inventory investment and sales became much more negative, and adjustments to output, which in earlier decades stemmed primarily from plants hiring and laying off workers, were more often accomplished with changes in average hours per worker after the mid 1980s. Building on the work of Blanchard (1983), we show how all of these changes could have stemmed from one underlying factor%u2014a decline in the persistence of motor vehicle sales. We use both industry-level data as well as micro data on production schedules from 103 assembly plants in the United States and Canada to document the developments in the e...
August 2004Why Do Real and Nominal Inventory-Sales Ratios Have Different Trends
with Valerie A. Ramey: w10703
This note explains the diverging trends between real and nominal aggregate inventory-sales ratios. The combined effect of two features of the data explains the divergence. First, while aggregate sales include both goods and services, inventories include only goods. Second, there has been a strong secular decrease in the relative price of goods. The combination of these two factors causes the real and nominal aggregate inventory-sales ratios to have different trends.
March 2004Tracking the Source of the Decline in GDP Volatility: An Analysis of the Automobile Industry
with Valerie A. Ramey: w10384
Recent papers by Kim and Nelson (1999) and McConnell and Perez-Quiros (2000) uncover a dramatic decline in the volatility of U.S. GDP growth beginning in 1984. Determining whether the source is good luck, good policy or better inventory management has since developed into an active area of research. This paper seeks to shed light on the source of the decline in volatility by studying the behavior of the U.S. automobile industry, where the changes in volatility have mirrored those of the aggregate data. We find that changes in the relative volatility of sales and output, which have been interpreted by some as evidence of improved inventory management, are in fact the result of changes in the process driving automobile sales. We first show that the autocorrelation of sales dropped during the...

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