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Options, the Value of Capital, and Investment

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Listed:
  • Andrew B. Abel
  • Avinash K. Dixit
  • Janice C. Eberly
  • Robert S. Pindyck

Abstract

Capital investment decisions must recognize the limitations on the firm's ability to later sell or expand capacity. This paper shows how opportunities for future expansion or contraction can be valued as options, how their valuation relates to the q theory of investment, and their effect on the incentive to invest. Generally, the option to expand reduces the incentive to invest, while the option to disinvest raises it. We show how these options determine the effect of uncertainty on investment, how they are changed by shifts of the distribution of future profitability, and how the q-theory and option pricing approaches are related.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Abel & Avinash K. Dixit & Janice C. Eberly & Robert S. Pindyck, 1996. "Options, the Value of Capital, and Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 753-777.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:3:p:753-777.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Abel, Andrew B & Eberly, Janice C, 1994. "A Unified Model of Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1369-1384, December.
    2. Bartolini, Leonardo, 1993. "Competitive runs : The case of a ceiling on aggregate investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 921-948, June.
    3. Mussa, Michael L, 1977. "External and Internal Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Aggregate and Firm Investment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(174), pages 163-178, May.
    4. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, 1995. "Optimal Investment with Costly Reversibility," NBER Working Papers 5091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
    6. 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.
    7. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    8. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106.
    9. 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.
    10. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    11. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    12. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
    13. Abel, Andrew B, 1983. "Optimal Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 228-233, March.
    14. John V. Leahy, 1993. "Investment in Competitive Equilibrium: The Optimality of Myopic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1105-1133.
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