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How to analyze the investment-uncertainty relationship in real option models?


  • Lund, Diderik


The real options tradition originally predicted a decreasing relationship between uncertainty and investment, through the positive effect of higher uncertainty on the trigger level for revenue relative to costs. An opposing effect on the probability of reaching the level has been identified, yielding a total effect with ambiguous sign. This paper makes three points. The “opposing” effect is not always opposing. Systematic risk cannot generally be assumed to increase with volatility. A probability is not the best measure of investment. The sign of the total effect is again ambiguous. This ambiguity is illustrated, depending on specification of model and parameters.
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Suggested Citation

  • Lund, Diderik, 2005. "How to analyze the investment-uncertainty relationship in real option models?," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 311-322.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:revfin:v:14:y:2005:i:3-4:p:311-322

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nikolaos Milonas & Thomas Henker, 2001. "Price spread and convenience yield behaviour in the international oil market," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 23-36.
    2. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    3. Sarkar, Sudipto, 2003. "The effect of mean reversion on investment under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 377-396, November.
    4. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-887, September.
    5. Metcalf, Gilbert E. & Hassett, Kevin A., 1995. "Investment under alternative return assumptions Comparing random walks and mean reversion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 1471-1488, November.
    6. Lund Diderik, 1993. "The Lognormal Diffusion Is Hardly an Equilibrium Price Process for Exhaustible Resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 235-241, November.
    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. 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.
    9. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    10. McDonald, Robert & Siegel, Daniel, 1984. " Option Pricing When the Underlying Asset Earns a Below-Equilibrium Rate of Return: A Note," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(1), pages 261-265, March.
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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. Mark Funk, 2006. "Business cycles and research investment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(15), pages 1775-1782.
    3. Fouilloux, Jessica & Moraux, Franck & Viviani, Jean-Laurent, 2015. "Investing in finite-life carbon emissions reduction program under risk and idiosyncratic uncertainty," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 310-320.
    4. Angelica Gianfreda & Alessandro Sbuelz, 2008. "Risk adjustment, investment policy, and valuation for an unlevered firm," Working Papers 49/2008, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    5. Kanniainen, Juho, 2007. "Rothschild-Stiglitz's definition of increasing risk and the relationship between volatility and risk premium," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 363-374.
    6. Tsekrekos, Andrianos E., 2010. "The effect of mean reversion on entry and exit decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 725-742, April.
    7. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 2014. "Rent Taxes and Royalties in Designing Fiscal Regimes for Non-Renewable Resources," CESifo Working Paper Series 4568, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Lund, Diderik, 2009. "Marginal versus Average Beta of Equity under Corporate Taxation," Memorandum 12/2009, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    9. Davis, Graham A. & Cairns, Robert D., 2012. "Good timing: The economics of optimal stopping," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 255-265.
    10. Michail Chronopoulos, Derek Bunn, and Afzal Siddiqui, 2014. "Optionality and Policymaking in Re-Transforming the British Power Market," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    11. 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.
    12. Lund, Diderik, 2005. "An analytical model of required returns to equity under taxation with imperfect loss offset," Memorandum 13/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    13. Detert, Neal & Kotani, Koji, 2013. "Real options approach to renewable energy investments in Mongolia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 136-150.
    14. repec:eee:eneeco:v:63:y:2017:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Lund, Diderik & Nymoen, Ragnar, 2013. "Comparative statics for real options on oil: What stylized facts to use?," Memorandum 14/2013, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    16. 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.
    17. Berg, Tobias & Mölls, Sascha H. & Willershausen, Timo, 2009. "(Real-)options, uncertainty and comparative statics: Are Black and Scholes mistaken?," Manuskripte aus den Instituten für Betriebswirtschaftslehre der Universität Kiel 645, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre.
    18. Wong, Kit Pong, 2007. "The effect of uncertainty on investment timing in a real options model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2152-2167, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies


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