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Valuing real options with estimation error: DCF versus no-arbitrage



Publishing details

IFA Working Paper

Authors / Editors

Cooper I A


Publication Year



This paper investigates the effect of uncertainty about input parameters on the accuracy of real option valuation. It compares the error from no-arbitrage valuation with the error from using DCF. Despite the theoretical superiority of no-arbitrage valuation it is shown to be less accurate than DCF in many cases. In the common situation where no-arbitrage valuation first requires the value of the underlying asset to be estimated by DCF it is likely that direct DCF valuation of the real option is more accurate. The paper offers a possible explanation for the resistance of practitioners to using no-arbitrage methods to value real options, and the continued dominance in practice of apparently cruder methods.


real options, valuation, DCF, no-arbitrage

Publication Research Centre

Institute of Finance and Accounting


IFA Working Paper

Available on ECCH


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