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Starting an R&D project under uncertainty




We study a two-stage R&D project with an abandonment option. Two types of uncertainty influence the decision to start R&D. Demand uncertainty is modelled as a lottery between a proportional increase and decrease in demand. Technical uncertainty is modelled as a lottery between a decrease and increase in the cost to continue R&D. We relate differences in uncertainty to differences in risk premia. We deduct testable hypotheses on the basis of which we empirically analyze the impact of uncertainty on the decision to start an R&D project. Using data for about 4000 German firms in manufacturing and services (CIS IV), our model predictions are strongly confirmed.

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Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 09/585.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:09/585
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  8. John Van Reenen & Nick Bloom & Steve Bond, 2006. "Uncertainty and investment dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2645, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  13. Pindyck, Robert S., 1993. "Investments of uncertain cost," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 53-76, August.
  14. Gregory K. Bell & José M. Campa, 1997. "Irreversible Investments And Volatile Markets: A Study Of The Chemical Processing Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 79-87, February.
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  16. Dasgupta, Partha & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1980. "Industrial Structure and the Nature of Innovative Activity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 266-93, June.
  17. Bruno Cassiman & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2002. "R&D Cooperation and Spillovers: Some Empirical Evidence from Belgium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1169-1184, September.
  18. Henley, Andrew & Carruth, Alan & Dickerson, Andy, 2003. "Industry-wide versus firm-specific uncertainty and investment: British company panel data evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 87-92, January.
  19. Ghosal, Vivek & Loungani, Prakash, 1996. "Product Market Competition and the Impact of Price Uncertainty on Investment: Some Evidence from US Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 217-28, June.
  20. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  21. Huizinga, John, 1993. "Inflation Uncertainty, Relative Price Uncertainty, and Investment in U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(3), pages 521-49, August.
  22. Levin, Richard C & Cohen, Wesley M & Mowery, David C, 1985. "R&D Appropriability, Opportunity, and Market Structure: New Evidence on Some Schumpeterian Hypotheses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 20-24, May.
  23. Lukach, R. & Kort, P.M. & Plasmans, J., 2007. "Optimal R&D investment strategies under the threat of new technology entry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 103-119, February.
  24. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474, 01-2013.
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