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de Vries, Frans

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Zulehner, Christine / Schirle, Tammy


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Online
ISSN
1935-1682
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Technological Diversity and Cost Uncertainty

Frank C. Krysiak1

1University of Basel,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 9, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.2168, December 2009

Publication History

Published Online:
2009-12-01

Abstract

In many industries, different technologies are used simultaneously for the production of a homogeneous good. Such diversification is socially beneficial, because it reduces the transmission of factor price volatility, like oil-price shocks, to consumer prices. Therefore, many countries have implemented policies aimed at increasing technological diversification. The question is whether such policies are necessary. We use a two-stage investment model to address this question in the setting of perfect competition and of a monopoly. We show that factor price uncertainty leads to diversification, if capital is not too expensive, and that this diversification is due to each firm investing in a diversified technology portfolio. An important implication of this form of diversification is that technological diversity is socially optimal, even in the case of a monopoly. Thus policy intervention is unnecessary and might even be detrimental.

Keywords: technological diversity; uncertainty; policy intervention; investment; electricity industry; monopoly

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