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Irreversible investments in the Italian water service sector: a real option analysis. In Defrancesco E., Luigi Galletto L. Thiene M. (a cura di), Food, Agriculture and the Environment: Economic Issues. Third part: Natural resources environmental economics and policy, pp. 389-405. Franco Angeli.



We apply real options results to capital budgeting in the Water service as a regulated sector. We present a simple model to evaluate the flexibility of aqueduct systems. Aqueduct systems are characterized by a high degree of technological and operational flexibility and require higher irreversible sunk costs than other water utilities infrastructures. Our aim is to show that managerial and technical flexibility might turn out to be economically relevant if the “Piano d’Ambito” gives the concessionaire the option to strategically decide when to invest. We also correct the option value to take into account the fact that the length of concession contracts is generally shorter than the infrastructure’s useful life.