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Uncertainty, Investment, and Industry Evolution


  • Caballero, Ricardo J
  • Pindyck, Robert S


The authors study the effects of industrywide and idiosyncratic uncertainty on the entry of firms, total investment, and prices in a competitive industry with irreversible investment. They determine entry decisions and the resulting industry equilibrium and its characteristics, emphasizing effects of different sources of uncertainty. The authors stress how irreversibility affects the equilibrium distribution of prices, which in turn affects entry. Finally, they use four-digit U.S. manufacturing data to measure the extent of uncertainty and gauge its importance for investment. The authors find that a doubling of industrywide uncertainty raises the required rate of return on new capital by about 20 percent. Copyright 1996 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Caballero, Ricardo J & Pindyck, Robert S, 1996. "Uncertainty, Investment, and Industry Evolution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 641-662, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:37:y:1996:i:3:p:641-62

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Majd, Saman & Pindyck, Robert S., 1987. "Time to build, option value, and investment decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-27, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    4. Guiseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1994. "Irreversibility and Aggregate Investment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 223-246.
    5. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Avinash Dixit, 1989. "Hysteresis, Import Penetration, and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 205-228.
    9. 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.
    10. Hartman, Richard, 1972. "The effects of price and cost uncertainty on investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 258-266, October.
    11. Leahy, J.V., 1991. "The Optimality of Myopic Behaviour in a Competitive Model of Entry and Exit," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1566, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    12. Abel, Andrew B, 1983. "Optimal Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 228-233, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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


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