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Investment, uncertainty and pre-emption

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  • Mason, Robin
  • Weeds, Helen

Abstract

This paper examines irreversible investment in a project with uncertain returns, when there is an advantage to being the first to invest and externalities to investing when others also do so. We show that the possibility of pre-emption can have significant qualitative and quantitative effects on the relationship between uncertainty and investment. In a single-agent real options model, the trigger threshold for investment increases without bound as uncertainty grows. In contrast, the investment trigger of a leader faced with pre-emption is bounded above as uncertainty increases. In fact, we show that under certain parameter values, greater uncertainty can lead the leader to invest earlier. These findings reinforce the importance of extending real options analysis to include strategic interactions between players. Applications to industry situations are also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Mason, Robin & Weeds, Helen, 2010. "Investment, uncertainty and pre-emption," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 278-287, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:28:y:2010:i:3:p:278-287
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dixit, Avinash, 1991. "Irreversible Investment with Price Ceilings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 541-557, June.
    2. Dixit, Avinash, 1980. "The Role of Investment in Entry-Deterrence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(357), pages 95-106, March.
    3. Hoppe, Heidrun C., 2000. "Second-mover advantages in the strategic adoption of new technology under uncertainty," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 315-338, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Grzegorz Pawlina & Peter M. Kort, 2006. "Real Options in an Asymmetric Duopoly: Who Benefits from Your Competitive Disadvantage?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 1-35, March.
    6. 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.
    7. Huisman, K.J.M. & Kort, P.M., 1999. "Effects of Strategic Interactions on the Option Value of Waiting," Discussion Paper 1999-92, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. repec:fth:tilbur:9992 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-638, June.
    10. Nalin Kulatilaka & Enrico C. Perotti, 1998. "Strategic Growth Options," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1021-1031, August.
    11. Boyer, Marcel & Lasserre, Pierre & Mariotti, Thomas & Moreaux, Michel, 2004. "Preemption and rent dissipation under price competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 309-328, March.
    12. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, I: Overview and Quantity Competition with Large Fixed Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 549-569, May.
    13. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "A Theory of Exit in Duopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 943-960, July.
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