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Irreversible, Unobservable, Costly Investment in the Presence of Rivals

  • Carolyn Pitchik

I identify circumstances in which an agent wants to make a costly but unobservable irreversible investment that affects the subsequent noisy economic environment. In equilibrium, rivals may eventually infer that the agent is strong even though it initially appeared weak, so long as enough "strength" is seen subsequently. Comparative statics reveal that the higher is the rivals' opportunity cost, the more likely is the agent not to make the costly investment in equilibrium. In addition, as the amount of noise decreases, the probability that the agent invests increases and the probability that a challenge occurs decreases.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number pitchik-96-01.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 05 Jul 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:pitchik-96-01
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  1. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
  2. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
  3. Jeremy I. Bulow & John Geanakoplos & Paul D. Klemperer, 1983. "Multimarket Oligopoly," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 674, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1989. "Self-Enforcing Contracts, Shirking, and Life Cycle Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 65-83, Fall.
  5. Lundberg, Shelly J & Startz, Richard, 1983. "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 340-47, June.
  6. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  7. Bagwell, Kyle, 1995. "Commitment and observability in games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 271-280.
  8. Dixit, Avinash, 1980. "The Role of Investment in Entry-Deterrence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(357), pages 95-106, March.
  9. Pitchik Carolyn, 1993. "Commitment, Reputation, and Entry Deterrence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 268-287, April.
  10. Hilke, John C. & Nelson, Philip B., 1987. "Caveat innovator : Strategic and structural characteristics of new product introductions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 213-229, June.
  11. Jean-Pierre Benoit, 1984. "Financially Constrained Entry in a Game with Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 490-499, Winter.
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