Using a unique German firm-level data set, this paper is the first to jointly study the cyclical properties of the cross-sections of firm-level real value added and Solow residual innovations, as well as capital and employment adjustment. We find two new business cycle facts: 1) The cross-sectional standard deviation of firm-level innovations in the Solow residual, value added and employment is robustly and significantly countercyclical. 2) The cross-sectional standard deviation of firm-level investment is procyclical. We show that a heterogeneousfirm RBC model with quantitatively realistic countercyclical innovations in the firm-level Solow residual and non-convex adjustment costs calibrated to the non-Gaussian features of the steady state investment rate distribution, produces investment dispersion that positively comoves with the cycle, with a correlation coefficient of 0.65, compared to 0.61 in the data. We argue more generally that the cross-sectional business cycle dynamics impose tight empirical restrictions on structural parameters and stochastic properties of driving forces in heterogeneousfirmmodels, and are therefore paramount in the calibration of these models.
Ss model RBC model cross-sectional firm dynamics lumpy investment countercyclical risk aggregate shocks idiosyncratic shocks heterogeneous firms.