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Production and Inventory Control at the General Motors Corporation During the 1920's and 1930's

Anil K Kashyap and David W. Wilcox
The American Economic Review
Vol. 83, No. 3 (Jun., 1993), pp. 383-401
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2117524
Page Count: 19
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Production and Inventory Control at the General Motors Corporation During the 1920's and 1930's
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Abstract

This paper analyzes dynamics of production and inventories at the General Motors Corporation during the 1920's and 1930's. We begin by examining anecdotal evidence on the nature of the production control system in force during that period. Motivated by that evidence, we then extend the conventional linear-quadratic model of production behavior to take account of annual shutdown. Finally, we apply the modified model to newly available data on monthly unit production, sales, and inventories during 1924-1940. GM appears to have been aiming to maintain a targeted level of inventory relative to expected sales and, secondarily, to smooth production.

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