Time-to-Produce, Inventory, and Asset Prices



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In a production-based general equilibrium model, I study the impact of time-to-build and time-to-produce technology constraints and inventory on asset prices and macroeconomic quantity dynamics. A time-to-build constraint captures the delay in transforming new investment into productive capital; a time-to-produce constraint captures the delay in transforming productive capital into final products. Empirically, I find that the U.S. economy in aggregate exhibits approximately a three-quarter time-to-build and a four-quarter time-to-produce constraint. These delays in the production process introduce short-run risks in the economy where inventory accumulation facilitates consumption smoothing over time. Using this structure for time-to-build and time-to-produce constraints, I numerically calibrate a production-based general equilibrium model where the representative investor has recursive preferences over consumption and inventory. The model delivers first and second moments of macroeconomic quantities and asset prices consistent with the data. A small elasticity of intertemporal substitution is necessary to positively price the short-run risks induced by the production constraints. Inventories help fit the volatilities of asset returns, while the time-to-produce feature ensures nontrivial inventory holdings. In addition, the model is able to match empirical lead-lag patterns between asset prices and macroeconomic quantities as well as observed equity return predictability.