The impact of uncertainty on investment plans
AbstractIn this paper we investigate how demand and output price uncertainty affect investment plans of Belgian manufacturing firms. We obtain time-varying uncertainty measures at the firm and industry level from the Belgian monthly business cycle survey and investment plans from the half-yearly investment survey. Using investment plans instead of realised investment data, e.g. annual accounts data, is, from an informative point of view, superior since it is more likely to reveal the features of the decision formation process and, therefore, it is most closely related to economic theory. Business investment is normally planned well in advance, because it involves time and costs to implement, and theory describes the behaviour of firms at the moment of their decision, which can be assumed to be fully captured in survey data. In order to find robust predictions we estimate three different specifications, each of which can be considered as a benchmark in the literature: two reduced form equations and a structural Euler equation. Our results show that uncertainty depresses investment. These results hold for industry- as well as for firmspecific demand uncertainty. Moreover, referring to Euler equation, uncertainty postpones investment today in favour of investment tomorrow. This effect is stronger for firms with more irreversible investment. Hence, our results seem to confirm to predictions of the real option theory.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bank of Belgium in its series Working Paper Research with number 24.
Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: May 2002
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investment; uncertainty; irreversibility; real options; survey data;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D92 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice and Growth - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice and Growth, Financing, Investment, and Capacity
- E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Capital; Investment; Capacity
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Longitudinal Data; Spatial Time Series
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