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The dynamic effects of real options and irreversibility on investment and labour demand

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  • Nicholas Bloom

Abstract

This paper shows that, contrary to common beliefs, the real options effect of uncertainty plays no role in the long run rate of investment. This is proven for both the standard investment model with Cobb-Douglas production and Brownian motion demand, and also for a broader class of models with multiple lines of capital, labor and general demand stochastics. Real options and irreversibility, however, are shown to play an important role in the short run dynamics of investment and labor demand. Specifically, they reduce the short run response of investment and hiring to current demand shocks, and lead to a lagged response to past demand shocks.

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File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0015.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W00/15.

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Length: 34 pp
Date of creation: Jul 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:00/15

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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building From Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger & Laura Power, 1995. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," NBER Working Papers 5260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Pindyck, Robert S., 1986. "Irreversible investment, capacity choice, and the value of the firm," Working papers 1802-86., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  4. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
  5. Andrew B. Abel & Janice B. Eberly, . "The Effects of Irreversibility and Uncertainty on Capital Accumulation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 21-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  6. Dixit, A., 1988. "Entry And Exit Decisions Under Uncertainty," Papers 91, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  7. Hartman, Richard, 1972. "The effects of price and cost uncertainty on investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 258-266, October.
  8. Lee, J. & Shin, K., 1996. "The Role of a Variable Input in the Relationship Between Investment and Uncertainty," Papers 96-97-08, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  9. Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538.
  10. Dixit, Avinash, 1997. "Investment and Employment Dynamics in the Short Run and the Long Run," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 1-20, January.
  11. Bertola, Guiseppe & Caballero, Ricardo J, 1994. "Irreversibility and Aggregate Investment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 223-46, April.
  12. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "On the Sign of the Investment-Uncertainty Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 279-88, March.
  13. Abel, Andrew B, 1983. "Optimal Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 228-33, March.
  14. Eberly, Janice C. & Van Mieghem, Jan A., 1997. "Multi-factor Dynamic Investment under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 345-387, August.
  15. Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1994. "A Note on Competitive Investment under Uncertainty: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1107-12, September.
  16. Pindyck, Robert S, 1993. "A Note on Competitive Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 273-77, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Yoon, Kyung Hwan & Ratti, Ronald A., 2011. "Energy price uncertainty, energy intensity and firm investment," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 67-78, January.
  2. John Van Reenen & Nick Bloom & Steve Bond, 2006. "Uncertainty and investment dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2645, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Kang, Wensheng & Lee, Kiseok & Ratti, Ronald A., 2014. "Economic policy uncertainty and firm-level investment," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 42-53.

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