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Testing the Option Value Theory of Irreversible Investment

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  • Tarek M. Harchaoui
  • Pierre Lasserre

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Abstract

This paper statistically tests the option theory of irreversible investment under uncertainty. Using contingent claims valuation, we derive the value of options to invest in capacity, where the projects are endogenous to the economic circumstances prevailing at the investment date. We then test whether capacity investment decisions made by Canadian copper mines are compatible with the trigger price implied by the theory. The results speak strongly in favor of option theory as a theory of real investment. Our model explains both investment size and timing satisfactorily, from a statistical, and from an economic, point of view, and numerical simulations with a mean-reverting process suggest that the results do not depend crucially on the price being assumed to follow a geometric Brownian motion. Nous établissons par la méthode des actifs contingents la valeur de l'option d'effectuer des investissements irréversibles réels qui sont sensibles aux paramètres économiques prévalant au moment de la décision. Nous testons ensuite si des mines de cuivre canadiennes choisissent bien d'effectuer leurs investissements en capacité de production au moment où le prix du cuivre atteint le niveau critique impliqué par la théorie. Les résultats sont fortement en faveur de celle-ci. Le modèle explique tant la taille que la date des investissements d'une manière statistiquement et économiquement satisfaisante; des simulations avec un processus de retour à la moyenne indiquent que ces résultats ne dépendent pas de façon cruciale de l'hypothèse que le prix suit un processus Brownien géométrique.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 99s-35.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:99s-35

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Keywords: Irreversible investment; uncertainty; contingent claims; option value; Putty Clay; real investment; trigger price; Investissement irréversible; incertitude; actifs contingents; valeur d'option; modèle Putty Clay; investissement réel; prix critique;

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  1. George Koutoulas & Lawrence Kryzanowski, 1994. "Integration or Segmentation of the Canadian Stock Market: Evidence Based on the APT," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 329-51, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Carlo Altomonte & Enrico Pennings, 2004. "The Hazard Rate of Foreign Direct Investment: A Structural Estimation of a Real Option Model," Working Papers 259, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Di Corato, Luca, 2013. "Profit sharing under the threat of nationalization," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 295-315.
  3. Guo, Xin & Miao, Jianjun & Morellec, Erwan, 2005. "Irreversible investment with regime shifts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 37-59, May.
  4. Robert Cairns, 2004. "Green Accounting for an Externality, Pollution at a Mine," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 27(4), pages 409-427, April.
  5. Turvey, Calum G. & Toole, Andrew A. & Kropp, Jaclyn D., 2007. "An Empirical Examination of the Relationship Between Real Options Values and the Rate of Investment," 2007 1st Forum, February 15-17, 2007, Innsbruck, Austria 6606, International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks.
  6. Muehlenbachs, Lucija, 2012. "Testing for Avoidance of Environmental Obligations," Discussion Papers dp-12-12, Resources For the Future.
  7. Katrin Millock & Céline Nauges & Åsa Löfgren, 2007. "Using Ex Post Data to Estimate the Hurdle Rate of Abatement Investments – An Application to the Swedish Pulp and Paper Industry and Energy Sector," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00272041, HAL.
  8. Guido Fioretti, 2005. "A Model of Primary and Secondary Waves in Investment Cycles," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 24(4), pages 357-381, June.
  9. Katrin Millock & Céline Nauges & Åsa Löfgren, 2007. "Using Ex Post Data to Estimate the Hurdle Rate of Abatement Investments – An Application to the Swedish Pulp and Paper Industry and Energy Sector," Post-Print halshs-00272041, HAL.
  10. Löfgren, Åsa & Millock, Katrin & Nauges, Céline, 2008. "The effect of uncertainty on pollution abatement investments: Measuring hurdle rates for Swedish industry," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 475-491, December.
  11. Margaret Insley & Tony Wirjanto, 2008. "Contrasting two approaches in real options valuation: contingent claims versus dynamic programming," Working Papers 08002, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics.
  12. Åsa Löfgren & Katrin Millock & Céline Nauges, 2008. "Using ex post data to estimate the hurdle rate of abatement investments - an application to sulfur emissions from the Swedish pulp and paper industry and energy sector," Post-Print halshs-00261523, HAL.
  13. Åsa Löfgren & Katrin Millock & Céline Nauges, 2008. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Pollution Abatement Investments: Measuring Hurdle Rates for Swedish Industry," Post-Print halshs-00343702, HAL.
  14. Sumru Altug & Fanny S. Demers & Michel Demers, 2004. "Tax Policy and Irreversible Investment," CDMA Working Paper Series 200404, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.

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