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Irreversible Investment in Competitive Projects: A New Motive for Waiting to Invest

  • BOBTCHEFF Catherine

    (LERNA, University of Toulouse)

  • VILLENEUVE Stephane

We analyze a model of irreversible investment with two sources of uncertainty. A risk-neutral decision maker has the choice between two mutually exclusive projects under input price and output price uncertainty. We propose a complete study of the shape of the rational investment region and we prove that it is never optimal to invest when the alternative investments generate the same payoff independently of its size. A key feature of this bidimensional degree of uncertainty is thus that the payoff generated by each project is not a sufficient statistic to make a rational investment. In this context, our analysis provides a new motive for waiting to invest: the benefits associated with the dominance of one project over the other. As an illustration, we apply our methodology to power generation under uncertainty.

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Paper provided by LERNA, University of Toulouse in its series LERNA Working Papers with number 06.20.213.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ler:wpaper:06.20.213
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  1. Kenneth J. Arrow & Anthony C. Fisher, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-319.
  2. CHESNEY, Marc & LOUBERGE, Henri & VILLENEUVE, Stéphane, 2001. "Long-term risk management of nuclear waste : a real options approach," Les Cahiers de Recherche 767, HEC Paris.
  3. 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.
  4. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  5. Geltner, David & Riddiough, Timothy & Stojanovic, Srdjan, 1996. "Insights on the Effect of Land Use Choice: The Perpetual Option on the Best of Two Underlying Assets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 20-50, January.
  6. 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.
  7. Pindyck, Robert S, 1993. "A Note on Competitive Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 273-77, March.
  8. Jean-Paul Décamps & Thomas Mariotti & Stéphane Villeneuve, 2006. "Irreversible investment in alternative projects," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 425-448, 06.
  9. 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.
  10. John V. Leahy, 1993. "Investment in Competitive Equilibrium: The Optimality of Myopic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1105-1133.
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