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Uninsurable Risks: Uncertainty in Production, the Value of Information and Price Dispersion

  • Ana Paula Martins

    (Universidade Cat¡äolica Portuguesa)

This article digresses over the interaction of uncertainty with the firm¡¯s optimal decisions in a simple framework: a standard price-taking (short-run restricted) single-input and output unit, subject to the interaction with a zeromean Bernoulli lottery of variable dispersion. The firm is always considered an expected profit-maximizing entity. We inspect the consequences of exogenous uncertainty on the optimal allocations and on its "mean-(and)variance" valuation position. On the one hand, we contrast the effect of different sources of uncertainty on the producer¡¯s problem¡ªinput and output prices and quantities. On the other, we analyse the impact of ex-post flexibility of the decision variables. Importance and role of measures of risk-aversion (of concavity and convexity) imbedded in the firms technology ¡ª either the production, marginal productivity or the cost function, ¡ª and potentially risk-enhancing or deterrent features of the latter in the transmission of exogenous uncertainty to the optimal profits¡¯ mean and volatility under the different scenarios are highlighted.

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Article provided by Society for AEF in its journal Annals of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 341-383

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Handle: RePEc:cuf:journl:y:2007:v:8:i:1:p:341-383
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  1. Diamond, Peter A. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1974. "Increases in risk and in risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 337-360, July.
  2. Rothenberg, Thomas J & Smith, Kenneth R, 1971. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Resource Allocation in a General Equilibrium Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 440-59, August.
  3. Sandmo, Agnar, 1971. "On the Theory of the Competitive Firm under Price Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 65-73, March.
  4. Christopher D. Carroll & Miles S. Kimball, 1995. "On the concavity of the consumption function," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Batra, Raveendra N & Ullah, Aman, 1974. "Competitive Firm and the Theory of Input Demand under Price Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(3), pages 537-48, May/June.
  6. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  7. Hartman, Richard, 1976. "Factor Demand with Output Price Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 675-81, September.
  8. Gollier, Christian & Pratt, John W, 1996. "Risk Vulnerability and the Tempering Effect of Background Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1109-23, September.
  9. Feldstein, Martin S, 1971. "Production with Uncertain Technology: Some Economic and Econometric Implications," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 12(1), pages 27-38, February.
  10. Hartman, Richard, 1975. "Competitive Firm and the Theory of Input Demand under Price Uncertainty: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1289-90, December.
  11. Dionne, Georges, 1987. "Essays on Economic Decisions Under Uncertainty, par JACQUES H. DRÈZE. — Cambridge University Press, 1987, 424 p," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 63(2), pages 282-289, juin et s.
  12. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
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