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The Long and Winding Road: Valuing Investment under Construction Uncertainty

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  • Jacco J.J. Thijssen
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    Abstract

    This paper presents a model of investment in projects that are characterized by (i) uncertainty over both the construction costs and revenues, and (ii) revenues that accrue only after construction is completed. Both processes are modeled as spectrally negative Levy jump-diffusions. The optimal stopping problem that determines the value of the project is solved under fairly general assumptions. It is found that the threshold for the benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) beyond which investment is optimal is higher than when investment costs are sunk and upfront. In addition, the current value of the BCR decreases sharply in the frequency of negative shocks to the construction process. This implies that the cost overruns that can be expected if one ignores such shocks are sharply increasing in their frequency. Based on calibrated data, the model is applied to the construction of high-speed rail in the UK and it is found that the economic case for the first phase of High Speed 2 cannot be made and is unlikely to be met in the next 10 years.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 13/20.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:13/20

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    Keywords: Investment under Uncertainty; Infrastructure investment; Optimal stopping;

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    1. Alvarez, Luis H. R. & Keppo, Jussi, 2002. "The impact of delivery lags on irreversible investment under uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 173-180, January.
    2. Sarkar, Sudipto, 2000. "On the investment-uncertainty relationship in a real options model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 219-225, February.
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