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Irreversible investment with uncertainty and scale economies

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  • Dixit, Avinash

Abstract

This paper analyses optimal irreversible investment policy when profits are subject to a multiplicative geometric Brownian motion shock. The marginal product of capital is increasing initially and decreasing thereafter. In the latter range, optimal policy is familiar: capacity is added gradually as the shock rises to a threshold where the expected return on the marginal unit is a required multiple of the cost of capital. The multiple reflects the option value of waiting. The optimal policy in the increasing marginal product range obeys the same multiple, now applied to the total return on the discrete increase in capital. Implications for economic growth, and suboptimal equilibria under external economies, are examined.

Suggested Citation

  • Dixit, Avinash, 1992. "Irreversible investment with uncertainty and scale economies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19372, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19372
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19372/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. J. Michael Harrison & Michael I. Taksar, 1983. "Instantaneous Control of Brownian Motion," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 8(3), pages 439-453, August.
    3. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-157, April.
    4. Bartolini, Leonardo, 1993. "Competitive runs : The case of a ceiling on aggregate investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 921-948, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Skiba, A K, 1978. "Optimal Growth with a Convex-Concave Production Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(3), pages 527-539, May.
    7. J. Michael Harrison & Thomas M. Sellke & Allison J. Taylor, 1983. "Impulse Control of Brownian Motion," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 8(3), pages 454-466, August.
    8. M. L. Weitzman, 1970. "Optimal Growth with Scale Economies in the Creation of Overhead Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(4), pages 555-570.
    9. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    10. 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.
    11. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
    12. 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 331-349, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Scale economies; uncertainty; optimal irreversible investment policy; capital; economic growth; profits;

    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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