The Learning Curve and Optimal Production under Uncertainty
This article examines the implications of the learning curve in a world of uncertainty. We consider a competitive firm whose costs decline with cumulative output. Because the price of the firm's output evolves stochastically, future production and cumulative output are unknown and are contingent on future prices and costs. We derive an optimal decision rule that maximizes the firm's market value: produce when the price exceeds a critical level, which is a declining function of cumulative output. We show how the shadow value of cumulative production, the total value of the firm, and the decision to produce depend on the volatility of the price and other parameters. Uncertainty increases the critical price required for the firm to produce, but also increases the value of the firm. Thus, during periods of high volatility, firms facing a learning curve ought to be producing less, but are worth more.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 20 (1989)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.rje.org|
|Order Information:||Web: https://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/rje_online.cgi|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Martin B. Zimmerman, 1982. "Learning Effects and the Commercialization of New Energy Technologies: The Case of Nuclear Power," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 297-310, Autumn.
- Brennan, Michael J. & Schwartz, Eduardo S., 1978. "Finite Difference Methods and Jump Processes Arising in the Pricing of Contingent Claims: A Synthesis," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 461-474, September.
- Marvin B. Lieberman, 1984. "The Learning Curve and Pricing in the Chemical Processing Industries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 213-228, Summer.
- Shlomo Kalish, 1983. "Monopolist Pricing with Dynamic Demand and Production Cost," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(2), pages 135-159.
- Merton, Robert C., 1977. "On the pricing of contingent claims and the Modigliani-Miller theorem," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 241-249, November.
- 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.
- Saman Majd & Robert S. Pindyck, 1985. "Time to Build, Option Value, and Investment Decisions," NBER Working Papers 1654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- McDonald, Robert L & Siegel, Daniel R, 1985. "Investment and the Valuation of Firms When There Is an Option to Shut Down," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 331-49, June.
- Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-57, April.
- 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 261-65, March.
- Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1983. "Learning-by-Doing and Market Performance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 522-530, Autumn.
- A. M. Spence, 1981. "The Learning Curve and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 49-70, Spring.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:20:y:1989:i:autumn:p:331-343. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.