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The Effect of Uncertainty on Investment: Evidence from Texas Oil Drilling

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  • Ryan Kellogg

Abstract

Despite widespread application of real options theory in the literature, the extent to which firms actually delay irreversible investments following an increase in the uncertainty of their environment is not empirically well-known. This paper estimates firms’ responsiveness to changes in uncertainty using detailed data on oil well drilling in Texas and expectations of future oil price volatility derived from the NYMEX futures options market. Using a dynamic model of firms’ investment problem, I find that oil companies respond to changes in expected price volatility by adjusting their drilling activity by a magnitude consistent with the optimal response prescribed by theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16541.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Publication status: published as Ryan Kellogg, 2014. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Investment: Evidence from Texas Oil Drilling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1698-1734, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16541

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  1. Nicholas Bloom & Max Floetotto & Nir Jaimovich & Itay Saporta-Eksten & Stephen J. Terry, 2014. "Really Uncertain Business Cycles," Working Papers 14-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Ron Alquist & Lutz Kilian, 2010. "What do we learn from the price of crude oil futures?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 539-573.
  3. 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.
  4. Ryan Kellogg, 2009. "Learning by Drilling: Inter-Firm Learning and Relationship Persistence in the Texas Oilpatch," NBER Working Papers 15060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert S. Pindyck, 1990. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 3307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John Hassler, . "Variations in Risk and Fluctuations in Demand - a theoretical model," Homapage Papers _003, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  7. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
  8. Jon Cohen & Michelle Alexopoulos, 2009. "Uncertain Times, Uncertain Measures," 2009 Meeting Papers 1211, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Timothy Dunne & Xiaoyi Mu, 2008. "Investment spikes and uncertainty in the petroleum refining industry," Working Paper 0805, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. John A. List & Michael S. Haigh, 2010. "Investment Under Uncertainty: Testing the Options Model with Professional Traders," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 974-984, November.
  11. Pablo A. Guerron-Quintana & Martin Uribe & Juan Rubio-Ramirez & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, 2009. "Risk Matters: The Real E¤ects of Volatility Shocks," 2009 Meeting Papers 237, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Szakmary, Andrew & Ors, Evren & Kyoung Kim, Jin & Davidson, Wallace III, 2003. "The predictive power of implied volatility: Evidence from 35 futures markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 2151-2175, November.
  13. R?diger Bachmann & Steffen Elstner & Eric R. Sims, 2013. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 217-49, April.
  14. Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. John V. Leahy & Toni M. Whited, 1995. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Investment: Some Stylized Facts," NBER Working Papers 4986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Wiggins, Steven N & Libecap, Gary D, 1985. "Oil Field Unitization: Contractual Failure in the Presence of Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 368-85, June.
  17. Hull, John C & White, Alan D, 1987. " The Pricing of Options on Assets with Stochastic Volatilities," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 281-300, June.
  18. Ser-Huang Poon & Clive W.J. Granger, 2003. "Forecasting Volatility in Financial Markets: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 478-539, June.
  19. Paddock, James L & Siegel, Daniel R & Smith, James L, 1988. "Option Valuation of Claims on Real Assets: The Case of Offshore Petroleum Leases," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 479-508, August.
  20. Hassler, John, 2001. " Uncertainty and the Timing of Automobile Purchases," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(2), pages 351-66, June.
  21. Nicholas Bloom, 2007. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," NBER Working Papers 13385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Ron Alquist & Lutz Kilian & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2011. "Forecasting the price of oil," International Finance Discussion Papers 1022, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Van Robays, Ine, 2012. "Macroeconomic uncertainty and the impact of oil shocks," Working Paper Series 1479, European Central Bank.
  3. Kilian, Lutz & Vigfusson, Robert J., 2011. "Nonlinearities in the Oil Price-Output Relationship," CEPR Discussion Papers 8174, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Soren T. Anderson & Ryan Kellogg & Stephen W. Salant, 2014. "Hotelling Under Pressure," NBER Working Papers 20280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael Plante & Nora Traum, 2012. "Time-Varying Oil Price Volatility and Macroeconomic Aggregates," Caepr Working Papers 2012-002, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  6. repec:clg:wpaper:2013-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Soojin Jo, 2012. "The Effects of Oil Price Uncertainty on the Macroeconomy," Working Papers 12-40, Bank of Canada.
  8. Muehlenbachs, Lucija, 2012. "Testing for Avoidance of Environmental Obligations," Discussion Papers dp-12-12, Resources For the Future.

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