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Fighting over Uncertain Demand: Investment Commitment versus Flexibility

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  • Gerda Dewit
  • Dermot Leahy

    ()
    (Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland
    Department of Economics,University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.)

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the trade-off between strategic investment commitment and flexibility under oligopoly. Facing demand uncertainty, firms decide whether to commit to investment early or wait until the uncertainty as been resolved. Two endogenous timing games are considered which differ in their characterisation of commitment. We show how uncertainty, the cost of capital and cost differences between firms demarcate the equilibrium outcomes. It is shown that a lower cost firm will forego flexibility at higher uncertainty. The nature of commitment will determine whether and for which ranges of uncertainty and costs, leader-follower investment arises. A brief welfare analysis is provided.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth in its series Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series with number n1060201.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:may:mayecw:n1060201

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    Postal: Maynooth, Co. Kildare
    Phone: 353-1-7083728
    Fax: 353-1-7083934
    Web page: http://economics.nuim.ie
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    Related research

    Keywords: Uncertainty; Investment Commitment; Oligopoly; Action Commitment; Observable Delay.;

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    References

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    1. Julia Darby & Andrew Hughes Hallett & Jonathan Ireland & Laura Piscitelli, . "The Impact of Exchange Rate Uncertainty on the Level of Investment," ICMM Discussion Papers 49, Department of Economics University of Strathclyde.
    2. Kevin A. Hassett & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1998. "Investment With Uncertain Tax Policy: Does Random Tax Policy Discourage Investment?," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9823, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    3. Hamilton, J.H. & Slutsky, S.M., 1988. "Endogenous Timing In Duopoly Games: Stackelberg Or Cournot Equilibria," Papers 88-4, Florida - College of Business Administration.
    4. Arvan, Lanny, 1991. "Flexibility versus commitment in strategic trade policy under uncertainty : A model of endogenous policy leadership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 341-355, November.
    5. David Collie, 1994. "Endogenous timing in trade policy games: Should governments use countervailing duties?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 191-209, March.
    6. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
    7. Boyer, Marcel & Moreaux, Michel, 1996. "Capacity Commitment versus Flexibility," IDEI Working Papers 63, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    8. Dewit, Gerda & Leahy, Dermot, 2004. "Rivalry in uncertain export markets: commitment versus flexibility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 195-209, October.
    9. Elie Appelbaum & Chin Lim, 1985. "Contestable Markets under Uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 28-40, Spring.
    10. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "First Mover and Second Mover Advantages," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(3), pages 649-53, October.
    11. Steve Dowrick, 1986. "von Stackelberg and Cournot Duopoly: Choosing Roles," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 251-260, Summer.
    12. Sadanand, Asha & Sadanand, Venkatraman, 1996. "Firm Scale and the Endogenous Timing of Entry: a Choice between Commitment and Flexibility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 516-530, August.
    13. Spencer, Barbara J. & Brander, James A., 1992. "Pre-commitment and flexibility : Applications to oligopoly theory," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1601-1626, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gerda Dewit & Dermot Leahy, 2001. "Rivalry In Uncertain Export Markets: Commitment Versus Flexibility," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n1050201, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
    2. Dewit, Gerda & Leahy, Dermot, 2004. "Rivalry in uncertain export markets: commitment versus flexibility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 195-209, October.

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