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Equilibrium Commodity Prices with Irreversible Investment and Non-Linear Technology

74 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2006  

Jaime Casassus

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

Pierre Collin-Dufresne

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bryan Routledge

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Date Written: December 2005

Abstract

We model equilibrium spot and futures oil prices in a general equilibrium production economy. In our model production of the consumption good requires two inputs: the consumption good and a commodity, e.g., Oil. Oil is produced by wells whose flow rate is costly to adjust. Investment in new Oil wells is costly and irreversible. As a result in equilibrium, investment in Oil wells is infrequent and lumpy. Even though the state of the economy is fully described by a one-factor Markov process, the spot oil price is not Markov (in itself). Rather it is best described as a regime-switching process, the regime being an investment `proximity' indicator. The resulting equilibrium oil price exhibits mean-reversion and heteroscedasticity. Further, the risk premium for exposure to commodity risk is time-varying, positive in the far-from-investment regime but negative in the near-investment regime. Further, our model captures many of the stylized facts of oil futures prices, such as backwardation and the `Samuelson effect.' The futures curve exhibits backwardation as a result of a convenience yield, which arises endogenously. We estimate our model using the Simulated Method of Moments with economic aggregate data and crude oil futures prices. The model successfully captures the first two moments of the futures curves, the average non-durable consumption-output ratio, the average oil consumption-output and the average real interest rate. The estimation results suggest the presence of convex adjustment costs for the investment in new oil wells. We also propose and test a linear approximation of the equilibrium regime-shifting dynamics implied by our model, and test its empirical implication for time-varying risk-premia.

Suggested Citation

Casassus, Jaime and Collin-Dufresne, Pierre and Routledge, Bryan, Equilibrium Commodity Prices with Irreversible Investment and Non-Linear Technology (December 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11864. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=875716

Jaime Casassus

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile ( email )

Av. Vicuna Mackenna 4860
Instituto de Economia
Santiago
Chile
(56-2) 2354 4319 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://economia.uc.cl/profesor/jaime-casassus/

Pierre Collin-Dufresne (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Quartier UNIL-Dorigny, Bâtiment Extranef, # 211
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1015 Lausanne, CH-6900
Switzerland

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bryan R. Routledge

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
(412) 268-7588 (Phone)
(412) 268-7064 (Fax)

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