Investment Under Uncertainty With a Zero Lower Bound on Interest Rates
26 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2016 Last revised: 18 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 3, 2019
This paper examines irreversible investment decisions when the interest rate is stochastic and constrained by a zero lower bound using the shadow-rate model of Black (1995). In contrast to the commonly found negative relationship between investment and uncertainty, it is shown that the presence of a lower bound on interest rates induces an asymmetric effect of interest rate uncertainty on investment decision. When the interest rate is low an increase in interest rate volatility decreases the value of waiting and increases investment but when the interest rate is high an increase in interest rate volatility increases the value of waiting and decreases investment. When interest rates are stuck at the lower bound and the shadow rate is substantially below the bound, the decision to invest or wait no longer depends on interest rate uncertainty and is determined entirely by cash flow volatility.
Keywords: irreversible investment decisions, zero lower bound, shadow interest rate
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G31
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