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"Adjustment Costs, Learning-by-Doing, and Technology Adoption under Uncertainty''

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  • Anna Pavlova

Abstract

We consider a variety of vintage capital models of a firm's choice of technology under uncertainty in the presence of adjustment costs and technology-specific learning. Similar models have been studied in a deterministic setting. Part of our objective is to examine the robustness of the implications of the certainty models to uncertainty. We find that the answer crucially depends on the specification of the costs of adoption of a new vintage of technology. In particular, if the cost comes only in terms of accumulated technology-specific expertise (cf. Parente (1994)), we demonstrate that the implications are robust for a variety of specifications of the firm's production function. However, once we develop a model in which each adoption requires a capital expenditure, predictions become increasingly different as uncertainty increases. The model implies that in booms, the firm accelerates adoptions of new technologies, delaying them in recessions. Adverse effects of a recession on the investment decisions are alleviated in part by the firm's expertise (or human capital). Compared to the deterministic benchmark, the firm increases the pace of adoptions, making a smaller technological advance each time it upgrades its technology. Overall, uncertainty negatively impacts growth and the firm value

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Paper provided by University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences in its series CARESS Working Papres with number 99-07.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:pennca:99-07

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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1992. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jeremy Greenwood & Boyan Jovanovic, 1998. "Accounting for Growth," NBER Working Papers 6647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Jeremy Greenwood & Boyan Jovanovic, 2001. "Accounting for Growth," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 179-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Huggett, Mark & Ospina, Sandra, 2001. "Does productivity growth fall after the adoption of new technology?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 173-195, August.
  4. Cooley, T.F. & Greenwood, J. & Yorukoglu, M., 1995. "The Replacement Problem," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9508, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  5. Byong-Hyong Bahk & Michael Gort, 1992. "Decomposing Learning By Doing in New Plants," Working Papers 92-16, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1981. "On the Diffusion of New Technology: A Game Theoretic Approach," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 395-405, July.
  7. 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.
  8. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2000. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 7925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Abel, Andrew B. & Eberly, Janice C., 1999. "The effects of irreversibility and uncertainty on capital accumulation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 339-377, December.
  10. Abel, Andrew B & Eberly, Janice C, 1994. "A Unified Model of Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1369-84, December.
  11. Peter Klenow, 1998. "Learning Curves and the Cyclical Behavior of Manufacturing Industries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 531-550, April.
  12. Michael Gort & Jeremy Greenwood & Peter Rupert, 1998. "Measuring the rate of technological progress in structures," Working Paper 9806, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  13. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Model of Asset Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 363-84, March.
  14. Parente Stephen L., 1994. "Technology Adoption, Learning-by-Doing, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 346-369, August.
  15. Abel, Andrew B, 1983. "Optimal Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 228-33, March.
  16. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper & Laura Power, 1999. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 921-946, September.
  17. Wang, Tan, 2001. "Equilibrium with new investment opportunities," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(11), pages 1751-1773, November.
  18. Alvarez, Luis H. R. & Stenbacka, Rune, 2001. "Adoption of uncertain multi-stage technology projects: a real options approach," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 71-97, February.
  19. Abel, Andrew B. & Eberly, Janice C., 1998. "The mix and scale of factors with irreversibility and fixed costs of investment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 101-135, June.
  20. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "Consumer Durables: Evidence on the Optimality of Usually Doing Nothing," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(2), pages 258-72, May.
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  22. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Bronwyn H. Hall & Beethika Khan, 2003. "Adoption of New Technology," NBER Working Papers 9730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Salvador Barrios & Eric Strobl, 2004. "Learning by Doing and Spillovers: Evidence from Firm-Level Panel Data," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 175-203, 06.
  3. Paulo G. Correa & Ana M. Fernandes & Chris J. Uregian, 2010. "Technology Adoption and the Investment Climate: Firm-Level Evidence for Eastern Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 121-147, January.

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