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The dynamic effects of real options and irreversibility on investment and labour demand

  • Nicholas Bloom

This paper shows that, contrary to common beliefs, the real options effect of uncertainty plays no role in the long run rate of investment. This is proven for both the standard investment model with Cobb-Douglas production and Brownian motion demand, and also for a broader class of models with multiple lines of capital, labor and general demand stochastics. Real options and irreversibility, however, are shown to play an important role in the short run dynamics of investment and labor demand. Specifically, they reduce the short run response of investment and hiring to current demand shocks, and lead to a lagged response to past demand shocks.

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File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0015.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W00/15.

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Length: 34 pp
Date of creation: Jul 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:00/15
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  1. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-38, June.
  2. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building From Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538.
  4. Lee, J. & Shin, K., 1996. "The Role of a Variable Input in the Relationship Between Investment and Uncertainty," Papers 96-97-08, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  5. Pindyck, Robert S., 1986. "Irreversible investment, capacity choice, and the value of the firm," Working papers 1802-86., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  6. Abel, Andrew B. & Eberly, Janice C., 1999. "The effects of irreversibility and uncertainty on capital accumulation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 339-377, December.
  7. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
  8. Pindyck, Robert S, 1993. "A Note on Competitive Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 273-77, March.
  9. Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1994. "A Note on Competitive Investment under Uncertainty: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1107-12, September.
  10. Dixit, Avinash, 1997. "Investment and Employment Dynamics in the Short Run and the Long Run," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 1-20, January.
  11. Hartman, Richard, 1972. "The effects of price and cost uncertainty on investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 258-266, October.
  12. Eberly, Janice C. & Van Mieghem, Jan A., 1997. "Multi-factor Dynamic Investment under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 345-387, August.
  13. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1991. "Irreversibility and Aggregate Investment," NBER Working Papers 3865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper & Laura Power, 1999. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 921-946, September.
  15. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "On the Sign of the Investment-Uncertainty Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 279-88, March.
  16. Abel, Andrew B, 1983. "Optimal Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 228-33, March.
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