The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Panel data on Ghanaian manufacturing firms are used to test predictions from models of irreversible investment under uncertainty. Information on the entrepreneur’s subjective probability distribution over future demand for the firm’s products is used to construct the expected variance of demand, which is used as a measure of uncertainty. Empirical results support the prediction that firms wait to invest until the marginal revenue product of capital reaches a firm-specific hurdle level. Moreover, higher uncertainty raises the hurdle level that triggers investment, and uncertainty has a negative effect on investment levels that is greater for firms with more irreversible investment.