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Fighting over Uncertain Demand: Investment Commitment versus Flexibility

Author

Listed:
  • Gerda Dewit
  • Dermot Leahy

    () (Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland
    Department of Economics,University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.)

Abstract

This paper examines the trade-off between strategic investment commitment and flexibility under oligopoly. Facing demand uncertainty, firms decide whether to commit to investment early or wait until the uncertainty as been resolved. Two endogenous timing games are considered which differ in their characterisation of commitment. We show how uncertainty, the cost of capital and cost differences between firms demarcate the equilibrium outcomes. It is shown that a lower cost firm will forego flexibility at higher uncertainty. The nature of commitment will determine whether and for which ranges of uncertainty and costs, leader-follower investment arises. A brief welfare analysis is provided.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerda Dewit & Dermot Leahy, 2001. "Fighting over Uncertain Demand: Investment Commitment versus Flexibility," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n1060201, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  • Handle: RePEc:may:mayecw:n1060201
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    File URL: http://repec.maynoothuniversity.ie/mayecw-files/N1060201.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hamilton, Jonathan H. & Slutsky, Steven M., 1990. "Endogenous timing in duopoly games: Stackelberg or cournot equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 29-46, March.
    2. Darby, Julia, et al, 1999. "The Impact of Exchange Rate Uncertainty on the Level of Investment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages 55-67, March.
    3. Hassett, Kevin A & Metcalf, Gilbert E, 1999. "Investment with Uncertain Tax Policy: Does Random Tax Policy Discourage Investment?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 372-393, July.
    4. Elie Appelbaum & Chin Lim, 1985. "Contestable Markets under Uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 28-40, Spring.
    5. Dewit, Gerda & Leahy, Dermot, 2004. "Rivalry in uncertain export markets: commitment versus flexibility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 195-209, October.
    6. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "First Mover and Second Mover Advantages," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(3), pages 649-653, October.
    7. Arvan, Lanny, 1991. "Flexibility versus commitment in strategic trade policy under uncertainty : A model of endogenous policy leadership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 341-355, November.
    8. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
    9. Sadanand, Asha & Sadanand, Venkatraman, 1996. "Firm Scale and the Endogenous Timing of Entry: a Choice between Commitment and Flexibility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 516-530, August.
    10. Marcel Boyer & Michel Moreaux, 1997. "Capacity Commitment versus Flexibility," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 347-376, June.
    11. Spencer, Barbara J. & Brander, James A., 1992. "Pre-commitment and flexibility : Applications to oligopoly theory," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1601-1626, December.
    12. David Collie, 1994. "Endogenous timing in trade policy games: Should governments use countervailing duties?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(1), pages 191-209, March.
    13. Steve Dowrick, 1986. "von Stackelberg and Cournot Duopoly: Choosing Roles," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 251-260, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dewit, Gerda & Leahy, Dermot, 2004. "Rivalry in uncertain export markets: commitment versus flexibility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 195-209, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Uncertainty; Investment Commitment; Oligopoly; Action Commitment; Observable Delay.;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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