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Testing the Option Vakue Theory of Irreversible Investment

  • Harchaoui, T.
  • Lasserre, P.

This paper statistically tests the option theory of irreversible investment under uncertainty. Using contingent claims valuation, we derive the value of options to invest in capacity, where the projects are endogenous to the economic circumstances prevailing at the investment date. We then test whether capacity investment decisions made by Canadian copper mines are compatible with the trigger price implied by the theory. The results speak strongly in favor of option theory as a theory of real investment. Our model explains both investment size and timing satisfactorily, from a statistical, and from an economic, point of view, and numerical simulations with a mean-reverting process suggest that the results do not depend crucially on the price being assumed to follow a geometric Brownian motion. Nous établissons par la méthode des actifs contingents la valeur de l'option d'effectuer des investissements irréversibles réels qui sont sensibles aux paramètres économiques prévalant au moment de la décision. Nous testons ensuite si des mines de cuivre canadiennes choisissent bien d'effectuer leurs investissements en capacité de production au moment où le prix du cuivre atteint le niveau critique impliqué par la théorie. Les résultats sont fortement en faveur de celle-ci. Le modèle explique tant la taille que la date des investissements d'une manière statistiquement et économiquement satisfaisante; des simulations avec un processus de retour à la moyenne indiquent que ces résultats ne dépendent pas de façon cruciale de l'hypothèse que le prix suit un processus Brownien géométrique.

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Paper provided by Universite Aix-Marseille III in its series G.R.E.Q.A.M. with number 95b04.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:aixmeq:95b04
Web page:

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  1. Robert J. Gordon, 1992. "Measuring the Aggregate Price Level: Implications For Economic Performance and Policy," NBER Working Papers 3969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. George Koutoulas & Lawrence Kryzanowski, 1994. "Integration or Segmentation of the Canadian Stock Market: Evidence Based on the APT," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 329-51, May.
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