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Uncertainty and Investment Options

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  • Nancy Stokey

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

This paper develops a simple model in which uncertainty about future tax policy leads to a temporary reduction in investment. The basic idea is that policy uncertainty creates uncertainty about the profitability of investment. If the uncertainty is likely to be resolved in the not-too-distant future, firms rationally delay committing resources to irreversible projects, reducing current investment. When the uncertainty is resolved, investment recovers, generating a temporary boom. The size of the boom depends on the realization of the fiscal uncertainty, with lower realizations of the tax rate producing larger booms.

Suggested Citation

  • Nancy Stokey, 2013. "Uncertainty and Investment Options," 2013 Meeting Papers 251, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:251
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    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2013/paper_251.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jovanovic, Boyan, 2009. "Investment options and the business cycle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2247-2265, November.
    2. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
    3. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana & Keith Kuester & Juan Rubio-Ramírez, 2015. "Fiscal Volatility Shocks and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(11), pages 3352-3384, November.
    4. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106.
    5. Hugo A. Hopenhayn & Maria E. Muniagurría, 1993. "Policy variability and economic growth," Economics Working Papers 30, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    6. Brandon Julio & Youngsuk Yook, 2012. "Political Uncertainty and Corporate Investment Cycles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 45-84, February.
    7. Hugo A. Hopenhayn & María E. Muniagurria, 1996. "Policy Variability and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 611-625.
    8. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    9. Baldwin, Carliss Y. & Meyer, Richard F., 1979. "Liquidity preference under uncertainty: A model of dynamic investment in illiquid opportunities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 347-374, December.
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