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Uncertainty and stepwise investment

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  • Kort, Peter M.
  • Murto, Pauli
  • Pawlina, Grzegorz

Abstract

We analyze the optimal investment strategy of a firm that can complete a project either in one stage at a single freely chosen time point or in incremental steps at distinct time points. The presence of economies of scale gives rise to the following trade-off: lumpy investment has a lower total cost, but stepwise investment gives more flexibility by letting the firm choose the timing individually for each stage. Our main question is how uncertainty in market development affects this trade-off. The answer is unambiguous and in contrast with a conventional real-options intuition: higher uncertainty makes the single-stage investment more attractive relative to the more flexible stepwise investment strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Kort, Peter M. & Murto, Pauli & Pawlina, Grzegorz, 2010. "Uncertainty and stepwise investment," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 202(1), pages 196-203, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:202:y:2010:i:1:p:196-203
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michail Chronopoulos & Verena Hagspiel & Stein-Erik Fleten, 2017. "Stepwise investment and capacity sizing under uncertainty," OR Spectrum: Quantitative Approaches in Management, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research e.V., vol. 39(2), pages 447-472, March.
    2. Shibata, Takashi & Yamazaki, Hiroshi, 2010. "Strategic investment timing under asymmetric access charge regulation in telecommunications," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 207(3), pages 1689-1701, December.
    3. repec:eee:transe:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:120-140 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Siddiqui, Afzal & Takashima, Ryuta, 2012. "Capacity switching options under rivalry and uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 222(3), pages 583-595.
    5. Shibata, Takashi & Nishihara, Michi, 2015. "Investment timing, debt structure, and financing constraints," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 241(2), pages 513-526.
    6. Nishihara, Michi & Shibata, Takashi, 2016. "Asset sale, debt restructuring, and liquidation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 73-92.
    7. Chevalier-Roignant, Benoît & Flath, Christoph M. & Huchzermeier, Arnd & Trigeorgis, Lenos, 2011. "Strategic investment under uncertainty: A synthesis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 215(3), pages 639-650, December.
    8. Shibata, Takashi, 2016. "Strategic entry in a triopoly market of firms with asymmetric cost structures," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(2), pages 728-739.
    9. Michail Chronopoulos, Verena Hagspiel, and Stein-Erik Fleten, 2016. "Stepwise Green Investment under Policy Uncertainty," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4).
    10. Lukas, Elmar & Welling, Andreas, 2014. "On the investment–uncertainty relationship: A game theoretic real option approach," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 25-35.
    11. Lukas, Elmar & Welling, Andreas, 2017. "Efficient non-cooperative bargaining despite keeping strategic information private," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 287-294.
    12. Lukas, Elmar & Reuer, Jeffrey J. & Welling, Andreas, 2012. "Earnouts in mergers and acquisitions: A game-theoretic option pricing approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 223(1), pages 256-263.
    13. Michi Nishihara & Takashi Shibata, 2017. "Dynamic bankruptcy procedure with asymmetric information between insiders and outsiders," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 17-18, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    14. Guthrie, Graeme, 2012. "Uncertainty and the trade-off between scale and flexibility in investment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 1718-1728.
    15. Whalley, A. Elizabeth, 2011. "Optimal R&D investment for a risk-averse entrepreneur," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 413-429, April.
    16. repec:taf:eurjfi:v:23:y:2017:i:12:p:1150-1175 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Elmar Lukas & Andreas Welling, 2012. "On the Investment-Uncertainty Relationship: A Game Theoretic Real Option Approach," FEMM Working Papers 120030, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    18. Ghosh, Suvankar & Troutt, Marvin D., 2012. "Complex compound option models – Can practitioners truly operationalize them?," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 222(3), pages 542-552.

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