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Irreversibility, uncertainty, and investment

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  • Pindyck, Robert

Abstract

Despite its importance to economic growth and the evolution of market structure, the investment behavior of firms, industries, and countries remains poorly understood. This paper has several objectives. First, it reviews some basic models of irreversible investment to illustrate the option-like characteristics of investment opportunities, and to show how optimal investment rules can be obtained from methods of option pricing, or alternatively from dynamic programming. Second, it discusses the implication of irreversibility for the empirical analysis of investment behavior. Finally, it discusses briefly some of the implications that the irreversibility of investment may have for policy. For example, policies that stabilize prices or exchange rates may be effective ways of stimulating investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 294.

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Date of creation: 31 Oct 1989
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:294

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Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; International Terrorism&Counterterrorism; Environmental Economics&Policies; Access to Markets; Markets and Market Access;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Gilbert, Richard, 1988. "Mobility Barriers and the Value of Incumbency," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt52q9j63w, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  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. He, Hua. & Pindyck, Robert S., 1989. "Investments in flexible production capacity," Working papers 2102-89., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  5. Dixit, A., 1988. "Entry And Exit Decisions Under Uncertainty," Papers 91, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  6. Hanemann, W. Michael, 1989. "Information and the concept of option value," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 23-37, January.
  7. Carr, Peter P, 1988. " The Valuation of Sequential Exchange Opportunities," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(5), pages 1235-56, December.
  8. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  9. Plummer, Mark L & Hartman, Richard C, 1986. "Option Value: A General Approach," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 455-71, July.
  10. Arrow, Kenneth J & Fisher, Anthony C, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-19, May.
  11. Saman Majd & Robert S. Pindyck, 1987. "The Learning Curve and Optimal Production Under Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 2423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Cukierman, Alex, 1980. "The Effects of Uncertainty on Investment under Risk Neutrality with Endogenous Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 462-75, June.
  13. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-73, March.
  14. Richard Baldwin, 1988. "Hysteresis In Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," NBER Working Papers 2545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Hartman, Richard, 1972. "The effects of price and cost uncertainty on investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 258-266, October.
  16. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1986. "Optimal Dynamic R&D Programs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 581-593, Winter.
  17. McDonald, Robert L & Siegel, Daniel R, 1985. "Investment and the Valuation of Firms When There Is an Option to Shut Down," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 331-49, June.
  18. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106, February.
  19. Majd, Saman & Pindyck, Robert S., 1987. "Time to build, option value, and investment decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-27, March.
  20. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1987. "Open Economy Macroeconomics: New Directions," NBER Working Papers 2372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The valuation of options for alternative stochastic processes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 145-166.
  22. Geske, Robert, 1979. "The valuation of compound options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 63-81, March.
  23. Merton, Robert C., 1977. "On the pricing of contingent claims and the Modigliani-Miller theorem," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 241-249, November.
  24. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  25. Craine, Roger, 1989. "Risky business : The allocation of capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 201-218, March.
  26. McDonald, Robert & Siegel, Daniel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-27, November.
  27. Geske, Robert & Shastri, Kuldeep, 1985. "Valuation by Approximation: A Comparison of Alternative Option Valuation Techniques," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 45-71, March.
  28. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1998. "Irreversible investment," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 3-37, March.
  29. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A. & Rubinstein, Mark, 1979. "Option pricing: A simplified approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 229-263, September.
  30. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-57, April.
  31. Baldwin, Richard & Krugman, Paul, 1989. "Persistent Trade Effects of Large Exchange Rate Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 635-54, November.
  32. Fischer, Stanley, 1975. "The Demand for Index Bonds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(3), pages 509-34, June.
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  34. Evans, Paul, 1984. "The Effects on Output of Money Growth and Interest Rate Volatility in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 204-22, April.
  35. M. L. Weitzman & K. Roberts, 1979. "Funding Criteria for Research, Development and Exploration Projects," Working papers 234, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  36. Fisher, Anthony C. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 1987. "Quasi-option value: Some misconceptions dispelled," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 183-190, June.
  37. repec:fth:coluec:414 is not listed on IDEAS
  38. Dixit, Avinash, 1991. "Irreversible Investment with Price Ceilings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 541-57, June.
  39. John A. Tatom, 1984. "Interest rate variability: its link to the variability of monetary growth and economic performance," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 31-47.
  40. Baldwin, Carliss Y, 1982. " Optimal Sequential Investment When Capital Is Not Readily Reversible," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(3), pages 763-82, June.
  41. Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, 1988. "Nonlinear Taxation of Risky Assets and Investment, With Application to Mining," NBER Working Papers 2631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  42. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  43. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Hysteresis, Import Penetration, and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 205-28, May.
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