The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper presents new empirical evidence about the process of plant investment. Using newspaper and trade journal articles, the author collects and analyzes time-to-build data for a sample of Compustat firms. These data suggest that the average construction lead time for new plants is around two years in most industries. Business cycle fluctuations do not affect the length of time-to-build. The investment lead times are generally not sensitive to the size of the projects. Only nine percent of the firms in the sample deviate from their investment schedules and delay or abandon their projects.