Strategic technology switching under risk aversion and uncertainty
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Economic Dynamics and Control. 2020, . 10.1016/j.jedc.2020.103918
Firms devising green investment strategies within a deregulated environment must take into account not only economic and technological uncertainty, but also strategic interactions due to competition. Also, further complicating green investment decisions is the fact that firms are likely to exhibit risk aversion, since alternative energy technologies entail risk that cannot be diversified. Therefore, we develop a utility-based, real options framework for pre-emptive and non-pre-emptive competition in order to analyse how economic and technological uncertainty interact with risk aversion to impact the adoption of an existing technology in the light of uncertainty over the arrival of an improved version. We confirm that greater risk aversion delays investment and show that technological uncertainty accelerates the follower’s entry, delays the entry of the pre-emptive leader, and, intriguingly, does not affect the non-pre-emptive leader’s investment decision. Also, we show how the relative loss in the leader’s value due to the follower’s entry is affected by economic and technological uncertainty as well as risk aversion, and how the risk of preemption under increasing economic uncertainty raises the value of direct investment in the new technology relative to stepwise investment.