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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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  1. John V. Leahy & Toni M. Whited, 1995. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Investment: Some Stylized Facts," NBER Working Papers 4986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. Grenadier, Steven R. & Weiss, Allen M., 1997. "Investment in technological innovations: An option pricing approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 397-416, June.
  8. Federico Etro, 2006. "Aggressive leaders," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 146-154, 03.
  9. Dorfman, Jeffrey H & Heien, Dale, 1989. "The Effects of Uncertainty and Adjustment Costs on Investment in the Almond Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 263-74, May.
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  11. 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.
  12. John Huizinga, 1993. "Inflation uncertainty, relative price uncertainty, and investment in U.S. manufacturing," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 521-557.
  13. Guiso, L. & Parigi, G., 1996. "Investment and Demand Uncertainty," Papers 289, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
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  16. Howitt, Peter & Griffith, Rachel & Aghion, Philippe & Blundell, Richard & Bloom, Nick, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: An Inverted-U Relationship," Scholarly Articles 4481507, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Farzin, Y.H. & Huisman, K.J.M. & Kort, P.M., 1996. "Optimal Timing of Technology Adoption," Discussion Paper 1996-72, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  18. Julia Darby & Andrew Hughes Hallett & Jonathan Ireland & Laura Piscitelli, . "The Impact of Exchange Rate Uncertainty on the Level of Investment," ICMM Discussion Papers 49, Department of Economics University of Strathclyde.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Ferderer, J Peter, 1993. "The Impact of Uncertainty on Aggregate Investment Spending: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(1), pages 30-48, February.
  23. Pindyck, Robert S., 1993. "Investments of uncertain cost," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 53-76, August.
  24. 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.
  25. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:2:p:391-415 is not listed on IDEAS
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