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I examine the long-run behavior of oil, coal, and natural gas prices, using up to 127 years of data, and address the following questions: What does over a century of data tell us about the stochastic dynamics of price evolution, and how it should be modeled? Can models of reversion to stochastically fluctuating trend lines help us forecast prices over(More)
I study irreversible investment decisions when projects take time to complete, and are subject to two types of uncertainty over the cost of completion. The first is technical uncertainty, i.e., uncertainty over the amount of time, effort, and materials that will ultimately be required to complete the project, and that is only resolved as the investment(More)
Commodity prices are volatile, and volatility itself varies over time. Changes in volatility can affect market variables by directly affecting the marginal value of storage, and by affecting a component of the total marginal cost of production, the opportunity cost of producing the commodity now rather than waiting for more price information. I examine the(More)
The standard framework in which economists evaluate environmental policies is cost-beneet analysis, so policy debates usually focus on the expected ows of costs and beneets, or on the choice of discount rate. But this can bemisleading when there is uncertainty over future outcomes, when there are irreversibilities, and when policy adoption can be delayed.(More)
We reexamine the basic investment problem of deciding when to incur a sunk cost to obtain a stochastically fluctuating benefit. The optimal investment rule satisfies a trade-off between a larger versus a later net benefit; we show that this trade-off is closely analogous to the standard trade-off for the pricing decision of a firm that faces a downward(More)