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Does Risk Aversion Accelerate Optimal Forest Rotation under Uncertainty?

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  • Luis H. R. Alvarez
  • Erkki Koskela

Abstract

We use a Wicksellian single rotation framework to analyze the impact of the intertemporally fluctuating and stochastic mean-reverting interest rate process on the optimal harvesting threshold and thereby the expected length of the rotation period, when forest value is also stochastic following geometric Brownian motion and landowners are risk-averse. We provide an explicit solution for the two-dimensional path-dependent rotation problem and demonstrate that higher interest rate volatility increases, while higher risk aversion decreases the optimal harvesting threshold. Moreover, under risk aversion increased forest value volatility decreases the optimal harvesting threshold, while it has no effect under risk neutrality. Numerical illustrations indicate that higher interest rate volatility will raise the expected rotation period at an increasing rate, while higher forest value volatility will decrease its sensitivity under risk aversion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1285.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1285

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Related research

Keywords: forest rotation; risk aversion; stochastic interest rates; optimal stopping;

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References

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  1. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
  2. Alvarez, Luis H. R. & Koskela, Erkki, 2005. "Wicksellian theory of forest rotation under interest rate variability," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 529-545, March.
  3. Reed, William J & Clarke, Harry R, 1990. "Harvest Decisions and Asset Valuation for Biological Resources Exhibiting Size-Dependent Stochastic Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(1), pages 147-69, February.
  4. Samuelson, Paul A, 1976. "Economics of Forestry in an Evolving Society," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 466-92, December.
  5. Alvarez, Luis H.R. & Koskela, Erkki, 2003. "On Forest Rotation Under Interest Rate Variability," Discussion Papers, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy 840, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  6. Insley, Margaret, 2002. "A Real Options Approach to the Valuation of a Forestry Investment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 471-492, November.
  7. Willassen, Yngve, 1998. "The stochastic rotation problem: A generalization of Faustmann's formula to stochastic forest growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 573-596, April.
  8. Margaret Insley & Kimberly Rollins, 2005. "On Solving the Multirotational Timber Harvesting Problem with Stochastic Prices: A Linear Complementarity Formulation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(3), pages 735-755.
  9. Fwu-Ranq Chang, 2003. "On the Elasticities of Harvesting Rules," CESifo Working Paper Series 1082, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "A Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 385-407, March.
  11. Luis H. R. Alvarez, 2001. "Reward functionals, salvage values, and optimal stopping," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 315-337, December.
  12. Reed, William J., 1984. "The effects of the risk of fire on the optimal rotation of a forest," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 180-190, June.
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