Investments in recessions

Type/nr A03/13
Skrevet av Eirik Sjåholm Knudsen and Lasse B. Lien

We argue that the strategy literature has been virtually silent on the issue of recessions, and that this constitutes a regrettable sin of omission. A key route to rectify this omission is to focus on how recessions affect investment behavior, and thereby firms stocks of assets and capabilities which ultimately will affect competitive outcomes. In the present paper we aim to contribute by analyzing how two key aspects of recessions, demand reductions and reductions in credit availability, affect three different types of investments: physical capital, R&D and innovation and human- and organizational capital. We point out that recessions not only affect the level of investment, but also the composition of investments. Some of these effects are quite counterintuitive. For example, investments in R&D are more sensitive to credit constraints than physical capital is. Investments in human capital grow as demand falls, and both R&D and human capital investments show important nonlinearities with respect to changes in demand.

Språk Skrevet på engelsk