Technical Report Valuation of an R&D project with three types of uncertainty

Nishihara, Michi

17-15pp.1 - 22 , 2017-06 , Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP) Osaka University
This paper develops an R&D decision-making model in the real options framework.The model is generic enough to capture three types of uncertainty in an R&D project,namely, uncertainty of research duration and costs, market value of technology, and a competitor’s technology development. I derive analytical solutions, which help practitioners and researchers to evaluate various cases of R&D investment. Further, by analyzing the model with a wide range of parameter values, I reveal the following effects of the three types of uncertainty on R&D investment: Higher uncertainty of research duration and costs, unlike market value uncertainty, speeds up investment, especially combined with a higher risk of competition. The investment timing can be U-shaped in the strength of competition because of the trade-off between the preemptive investment effect and the decreased project value effect. These results can account for empirical findings about the uncertainty-investment relation in industries with high R&D intensity and severe competition.

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