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Irreversibility, uncertainty, and investment

  • Pindyck, Robert

Despite its importance to economic growth and the evolution of market structure, the investment behavior of firms, industries, and countries remains poorly understood. This paper has several objectives. First, it reviews some basic models of irreversible investment to illustrate the option-like characteristics of investment opportunities, and to show how optimal investment rules can be obtained from methods of option pricing, or alternatively from dynamic programming. Second, it discusses the implication of irreversibility for the empirical analysis of investment behavior. Finally, it discusses briefly some of the implications that the irreversibility of investment may have for policy. For example, policies that stabilize prices or exchange rates may be effective ways of stimulating investment.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 294.

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Date of creation: 31 Oct 1989
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:294
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