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Working Paper

Commitment as Investment Under Uncertainty

Irreversible investment and the techniques associated with pricing real options have led to significant advances many areas. We broaden this range of applications, showing how the techniques can apply to many policy problems in finance, macroeconomics, and trade policy. With small changes, standard techniques can handle a wide range of strategic problems related to policy. The decision to commit is like the decision to make an irreversible investment. Explicitly considering and correctly valuing the option to wait makes discretion relatively more attractive, implies that greater uncertainty increases the gain to discretion and results in policy that displays hysteresis.

Suggested Citation

Ritter, Joseph, and Joseph G. Haubrich. 1996. “Commitment as Investment Under Uncertainty.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 96-06.