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Diversification of infrastructure projects for emergent and unknown non-systematic risks

Nilesh N. Joshi and James H. Lambert

Journal of Risk Research, 2011, vol. 14, issue 6, 717-733

Abstract: Allocating resources to competing large-scale infrastructure projects involves multiple objectives. Traditional decision-aiding methodologies focus on the trade-offs among performance and resource objectives. Existing methodologies may fail to account for unknown and emergent risks that are typical of large-scale infrastructure investment allocation problems. In modern portfolio theory, it is well known that a diversified portfolio can be very effective to reduce non-systematic risks. The approach of diversification is equally important in choosing robust portfolios of infrastructure projects that may be subject to emergent and unknown risks. In this paper, we demonstrate a methodology to analyze and compare the diversification of portfolios of large-scale infrastructure projects. We classify and explore several metrics of diversification and integrate them with risk and other performance objectives in a multiobjective approach. We test the new metrics and the methodology in a case study of hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure investments. The results suggest that the solutions that consider diversification are more robust to emergent risks, thus, identifying an opportunity to incorporate diversification-based optimization methodologies to support a variety of problems involving large-scale infrastructure investments.

Date: 2011
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