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The Role of a Variable Input in the Relationship between Investment and Uncertainty


  • Kwanho Shin
  • Jaewoo Lee


Caballero (1991) shows that a larger uncertainty only increases the investment of a perfectly competitive firm with a constant returns to scale technology. We show, however, that the option value generated by a one-time fixed cost can cause the increasing uncertainty to reduce investment from a positive value to zero.
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Suggested Citation

  • Kwanho Shin & Jaewoo Lee, 2000. "The Role of a Variable Input in the Relationship between Investment and Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 667-680, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:3:p:667-680 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.3.667

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1994. "A Note on Competitive Investment under Uncertainty: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1107-1112, September.
    2. Hartman, Richard, 1972. "The effects of price and cost uncertainty on investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 258-266, October.
    3. Abel, Andrew B & Eberly, Janice C, 1994. "A Unified Model of Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1369-1384, December.
    4. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1999. "Aggregate investment," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 813-862 Elsevier.
    5. Pindyck, Robert S, 1988. "Irreversible Investment, Capacity Choice, and the Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 969-985, December.
    6. Abel, Andrew B, 1983. "Optimal Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 228-233, March.
    7. Robert McDonald & Daniel Siegel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-727.
    8. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "On the Sign of the Investment-Uncertainty Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 279-288, March.
    9. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    10. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sangyup Choi & Davide Furceri & Joao Tovar Jalles, 2017. "Fiscal Stabilization and Growth: Evidence from Industry-level Data for Advanced and Developing Economies," Working papers 2017rwp-110, Yonsei University, Yonsei Economics Research Institute.
    2. Bayraktar, Nihal & Fofack, Hippolyte, 2007. "Specification of investment functions in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4171, The World Bank.
    3. Joseph P. Byrne & E. Philip Davis, 2005. "Investment and Uncertainty in the G7," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 141(1), pages 1-32, April.
    4. Hagspiel, V., 2011. "Flexibility in technology choice : A real options approach," Other publications TiSEM 4150e2d4-6ca2-4367-a8b9-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Tsai, Yingyi & Lin, Justin Yifu & Kurekova, Lucia, 2009. "Innovative R&D and optimal investment under uncertainty in high-tech industries: An implication for emerging economies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1388-1395, October.
    6. Kanwar, Sunil, 2007. "Business enterprise R&D, technological change, and intellectual property protection," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 120-126, July.
    7. Bontempi, Maria Elena & Golinelli, Roberto & Parigi, Giuseppe, 2010. "Why demand uncertainty curbs investment: Evidence from a panel of Italian manufacturing firms," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 218-238, March.
    8. Hanno Dihle, 2015. "Real Options in a Ramsey style Growth Model," Discussion Paper Series 32, Department of International Economic Policy, University of Freiburg, revised Dec 2015.
    9. Gyan Pradhan & Zeljan Schuster & Kamal Upadhyaya, 2004. "Exchange rate uncertainty and the level of investment in selected South-east Asian countries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(19), pages 2161-2165.
    10. Alberto A. Gaggero, 2008. "Optimal Investment in the Presence of Investment Shock and Congestion," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(2), pages 327-342, June.
    11. Nicolas Bloom, 2000. "The dynamic effects of real options and irreversibility on investment and labour demand," IFS Working Papers W00/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    12. Drakos, Konstantinos & Goulas, Eleftherios, 2006. "Investment and conditional uncertainty: The role of market power, irreversibility, and returns-to-scale," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 169-175, November.
    13. Gianluca Femminis, 2012. "Risk aversion heterogeneity and the investment-uncertainty relationship," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Teoria Economica e Metodi Quantitativi itemq1260, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    14. Magda Bianco & Maria Bontempi & Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2013. "Family firms’ investments, uncertainty and opacity," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 1035-1058, May.
    15. Yingyi Tsai & Ching-tang Wu, 2009. "Integrated Production And The Investment-Uncertainty Relationship," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 77(1), pages 102-112, March.
    16. Serven, Luis, 2002. "Real exchange rate uncertainty and private investment in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2823, The World Bank.
    17. Sunil Kanwar, 2006. "Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights," Working papers 142, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    18. Gil, Pedro Mazeda, 2012. "Investment under uncertainty: The nature of demand shocks and the expected profitability of capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 154-156.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty


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