Wald Revisited: The Optimal Level of Experimentation
AbstractThis paper revisits Wald's (1947) sequential experimentation paradigm, now assuming that an impatient decision maker can run variable-size experiments each period at some increasing and strictly convex cost before finally choosing an irreversible action. We translate this natural discrete time experimentation story into a tractable control of variance for a continuous time diffusion. Here we robustly characterize the optimal experimentation level: It is rising in the confidence about the project outcome, and for not very convex cost functions, the random process of experimentation levels has a positive drift over time. We also explore several parametric shifts unique to our framework. Among them, we discover what is arguably an 'anti-folk' result: Where the experimentation level is positive, it is often higher for a more impatient decision maker. This paper more generally suggests that a long-sought economic paradigm that delivers a sensible law of demand for information is our dynamic one namely, allowing the decision maker an eternal repurchase (resample) option.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1176.
Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Econometrica (November 2001), 69(6): 1629-1644
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Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Other versions of this item:
- Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 1998. "Wald Revisited: The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Working papers 98-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
- C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
- C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
- C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
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