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Uncertainty and Investment Dynamics

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  • Nick Bloom
  • Stephen Bond
  • John Van Reenen

Abstract

This paper shows that, with (partial) irreversibility, higher uncertainty reduces the impact effect of demand shocks on investment. Uncertainty increases real option values making firms more cautious when investing or disinvesting. This is confirmed both numerically for a model with a rich mix of adjustment costs, time-varying uncertainty, and aggregation over investment decisions and time, and also empirically for a panel of manufacturing firms. These cautionary effects of uncertainty are large - going from the lower quartile to the upper quartile of the uncertainty distribution typically halves the first year investment response to demand shocks. This implies the responsiveness of firms to any given policy stimulus may be much lower in periods of high uncertainty, such as after major shocks like OPEC I and 9/11.

Suggested Citation

  • Nick Bloom & Stephen Bond & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Uncertainty and Investment Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0739, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0739
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investment; uncertainty; real options; panel data;

    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
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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