IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Irreversible investment, uncertainty, and ambiguity: the case of bioenergy sector


  • Pierre-André Jouvet
  • Elodie Lecadre
  • Caroline Orset


We analyse the decision of an agent to invest and engage in industrial activities that are characterized by two forms of uncertainty: market size uncertainty and competitive effect uncertainty. We apply our model on the bioenergy industries. We compare the case of an ambiguity neutral agent with that of an ambiguity averse agent. We show that the investment decision of an agent depends on the effects of both the capital investment and the level of production on the cost and the uncertainty the agent is confronted with. Moreover, we find that ambiguity aversion tends to decrease the agent's optimal levels of production and investment. Our numerical analysis of the French case illustrates the different effects associated with market size uncertainty and competitive effect uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre-André Jouvet & Elodie Lecadre & Caroline Orset, 2011. "Irreversible investment, uncertainty, and ambiguity: the case of bioenergy sector," Working Papers 2011/01, INRA, Economie Publique.
  • Handle: RePEc:apu:wpaper:2011/01

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johanna Etner & Meglena Jeleva & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2009. "Decision theory under uncertainty," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 09064, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne, revised Nov 2009.
    2. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
    3. Dangl, Thomas, 1999. "Investment and capacity choice under uncertain demand," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 415-428, September.
    4. Kumbaroglu, Gürkan & Madlener, Reinhard & Demirel, Mustafa, 2008. "A real options evaluation model for the diffusion prospects of new renewable power generation technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1882-1908, July.
    5. Isik, Murat & Coble, Keith H. & Hudson, Darren & House, Lisa O., 2003. "A model of entry-exit decisions and capacity choice under demand uncertainty," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 28(3), May.
    6. Mohn, Klaus & Misund, Bård, 2009. "Investment and uncertainty in the international oil and gas industry," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 240-248, March.
    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. Elder, John & Serletis, Apostolos, 2009. "Oil price uncertainty in Canada," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 852-856, November.
    10. Apostolos Serletis, 2012. "Oil Price Uncertainty," World Scientific Books, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., number 8407, January.
    11. Christian Gollier, 2007. "Comment intégrer le risque dans le calcul économique ?," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 117(2), pages 209-223.
    12. Engle Warnick James C. & Escobal Javier & Laszlo Sonia C., 2011. "Ambiguity Aversion and Portfolio Choice in Small-Scale Peruvian Farming," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-56, November.
    13. Nalin Kulatilaka & Enrico C. Perotti, 1998. "Strategic Growth Options," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1021-1031, August.
    14. Carruth, Alan & Dickerson, Andrew & Henley, Andrew, 2000. " What Do We Know about Investment under Uncertainty?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 119-153, April.
    15. Fan, Ying & Zhu, Lei, 2010. "A real options based model and its application to China's overseas oil investment decisions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 627-637, May.
    16. Mario J. Miranda & Paul L. Fackler, 2004. "Applied Computational Economics and Finance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633094, July.
    17. Heath, Chip & Tversky, Amos, 1991. "Preference and Belief: Ambiguity and Competence in Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-28, January.
    18. Schmit, Todd M. & Luo, Jianchuan & Tauer, Loren W., 2008. "Ethanol Plant Investment using Net Present Value and Real Options Analyses," Working Papers 51145, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    19. Uslu, Ayla & Faaij, André P.C. & Bergman, P.C.A., 2008. "Pre-treatment technologies, and their effect on international bioenergy supply chain logistics. Techno-economic evaluation of torrefaction, fast pyrolysis and pelletisation," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1206-1223.
    20. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-1012, December.
    21. Murto, Pauli & Nasakkala, Erkka & Keppo, Jussi, 2004. "Timing of investments in oligopoly under uncertainty: A framework for numerical analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 157(2), pages 486-500, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yi, Fujin & Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia & Thome, Karen, 2013. "An Analysis of the Effects of Government Subsidies and the Renewable Fuels Standard on the Fuel Ethanol Industry: A Structural Econometric Model," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150224, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item


    Ambiguity; Bioenergy; Irreversible investment; Uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:apu:wpaper:2011/01. 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: (Régis Grateau). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.