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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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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16541

Note: EEE EFG IO
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  1. Hassler, John A. A., 1996. "Variations in risk and fluctuations in demand: A theoretical model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(6-7), pages 1115-1143.
  2. Lutz Kilian, 2009. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1053-69, June.
  3. Nick Bloom & Stephen Bond & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Uncertainty and Investment Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0739, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  5. 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.
  6. Hassler, John, 2001. " Uncertainty and the Timing of Automobile Purchases," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(2), pages 351-66, June.
  7. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  8. 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.
  9. Michael Haigh & John List, 2010. "Investment under uncertainty: Testing the options model with professional traders," Artefactual Field Experiments 00053, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Nicholas Bloom & Max Floetotto & Nir Jaimovich & Itay Saporta-Eksten & Stephen Terry, 2013. "Really uncertain business cycles," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51526, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-48, September.
  12. 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.
  13. Leahy, John V & Whited, Toni M, 1996. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Investment: Some Stylized Facts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(1), pages 64-83, February.
  14. Timothy Dunne & Xiaoyi Mu, 2008. "Investment spikes and uncertainty in the petroleum refining industry," Working Paper 0805, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  15. 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.
  16. Alquist, Ron & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "What Do We Learn from the Price of Crude Oil Futures?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. 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.
  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.
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Cited by:
  1. Ron Alquist & Lutz Kilian & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2011. "Forecasting the Price of Oil," Working Papers 11-15, Bank of Canada.
  2. Nora Traum & Michael Plante, 2012. "Time-Varying Oil Price Volatility and Macroeconomic Aggregates," 2012 Meeting Papers 455, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Muehlenbachs, Lucija, 2012. "Testing for Avoidance of Environmental Obligations," Discussion Papers dp-12-12, Resources For the Future.
  4. Kilian, Lutz & Vigfusson, Robert J., 2011. "Nonlinearities In The Oil Price–Output Relationship," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(S3), pages 337-363, November.
  5. Soojin Jo, 2012. "The Effects of Oil Price Uncertainty on the Macroeconomy," Working Papers 12-40, Bank of Canada.
  6. repec:clg:wpaper:2013-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Van Robays, Ine, 2012. "Macroeconomic uncertainty and the impact of oil shocks," Working Paper Series 1479, European Central Bank.

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