WPS/98.14 single pdf file
Richard Mash
The Investment Response to Temporary Commodity Price Shocks

The paper is concerned with the investment response to temporary trade shocks when capital in the commodity and import-competing sectors is irreversible once installed.  Previous literature has argued in general terms that investment is likely to rise in response to sharp relative price movements because the return to capital in one of the sectors will increase.  A rigorous model of investment under uncertainty in the two-sector commodity price shocks context is developed and used to investigate this issue.  It is shown that investment booms in response to commodity price shocks are likely but not certain to occur and a boom at the end of the shock may also be expected.  The predictions of the theory are shown to be consistent with the evidence from a small sample of countries during the late 1970s coffee/cocoa boom.

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SFS 19 March 2000