Marmer, V., & Slade, M. (2018). “Investment and uncertainty with time to build: Evidence from entry into U.S. copper mining.” Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 95, 233-254.
The standard real-options model predicts that increased uncertainty discourages investment. When projects are large and take time to build, however, that prediction can be reversed. We investigate the investment/uncertainty relationship empirically using historical data on opening dates of new U.S. copper mines – large, irreversible projects with substantial construction lags. Both the timing of the decision to go forward and the price thresholds that trigger that decision are assessed. In particular, we build upon a reduced form analysis to construct a structural model of entry. We find that, in this market, greater uncertainty encourages investment and lowers the price thresholds for many mines.