IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Risk, uncertainty, and option exercise

  • Miao, Jianjun
  • Wang, Neng

Many economic decisions can be described as an option exercise or optimal stopping problem under uncertainty. Motivated by experimental evidence such as the Ellsberg Paradox, we follow Knight (1921) and distinguish risk from uncertainty. To capture this distinction, we adopt the multiple-priors utility model. We show that the impact of ambiguity on the option exercise decision depends on the relative degrees of ambiguity about continuation payoffs and termination payoffs. Consequently, ambiguity may accelerate or delay option exercise. We apply our results to investment and exit problems, and show that the myopic NPV rule can be optimal for an agent having an extremely high degree of ambiguity aversion.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 35 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 442-461

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:35:y:2011:i:4:p:442-461
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
  2. Larry Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2002. "Learning Under Ambiguity," RCER Working Papers 497, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER), revised Mar 2005.
  3. Jianjun Miao, 2009. "Ambiguity, Risk and Portfolio Choice under Incomplete Information," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 10(2), pages 257-279, November.
  4. Jianjun Miao & NENGJIU JU, 2010. "Ambiguity, Learning, And Asset Returns," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2010-031, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  5. Klibanoff, Peter & Marinacci, Massimo & Mukerji, Sujoy, 2009. "Recursive smooth ambiguity preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 930-976, May.
  6. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
  7. Hayne E. Leland., 1994. "Corporate Debt Value, Bond Covenants, and Optimal Capital Structure," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-233, University of California at Berkeley.
  8. Chateauneuf, Alain & Eichberger, Jürgen & Grant, Simon, 2003. "Choice under uncertainty with the best and worst in mind : neo-additive capacities," Papers 03-10, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  9. Jianjun Miao & Neng Wang, 2006. "Investment, consumption and hedging under incomplete markets," 2006 Meeting Papers 289, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Jianjun Miao & Takashi Hayashi, 2010. "Intertemporal substitution and recursive smooth ambiguity preferences," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2010-030, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  11. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  12. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Karen E. Norberg, 2001. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1917, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  14. Bryan R. Routledge, Stanley E. Zin, 2000. "Model Uncertainity And Liquidity," Computing in Economics and Finance 2000 368, Society for Computational Economics.
  15. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-38, June.
  16. Christian Hagist & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2005. "Who's Going Broke? Comparing Growth in Healthcare Costs in Ten OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 11833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Kent Smetters, 2005. "Measuring Social Security’s Financial Problems," Working Papers wp093, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  18. Evan W. Anderson & Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "A Quartet of Semigroups for Model Specification, Robustness, Prices of Risk, and Model Detection," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 68-123, 03.
  19. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence J Kotlikoff, 2006. "Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take Us to Dinner? Simulating the Transition Paths of the US, EU, Japan and China," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Christopher Kent & Anna Park & Daniel Rees (ed.), Demography and Financial Markets Reserve Bank of Australia.
  20. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Investment Incentives and the Discounting of Depreciation Allowances," NBER Working Papers 1941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Zengjing Chen & Larry G. Epstein, 2000. "Ambiguity, risk and asset returns in continuous time," RCER Working Papers 474, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  22. Epstein, Larry G. & Miao, Jianjun, 2003. "A two-person dynamic equilibrium under ambiguity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1253-1288, May.
  23. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
  24. Larry G. Epstein & Jiankang Zhang, 1999. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectively Unambiguous Events," Carleton Economic Papers 99-18, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  25. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-57, April.
  26. Titman, Sheridan, 1985. "Urban Land Prices under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 505-14, June.
  27. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Alexi Sluchynsky, 2002. "Does it pay to work?," Working Paper 0206, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  28. Ian Jewitt & Sujoy Mukerji, 2011. "Ordering Ambiguous Acts," Economics Series Working Papers 553, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  29. Larry Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2005. "Ambiguity, Information Quality and Asset Pricing," RCER Working Papers 519, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  30. David K. Backus & Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2005. "Exotic Preferences for Macroeconomists," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 319-414 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 12, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2006.
  32. Larry G. Epstein, 1999. "A Definition of Uncertainty Aversion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 579-608.
  33. Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2002. "Generational policy," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 27, pages 1873-1932 Elsevier.
  34. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2001. "Recursive Multiple-Priors," RCER Working Papers 485, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  35. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
  36. Frank Riedel, 2009. "Optimal Stopping With Multiple Priors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 857-908, 05.
  37. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Kent Smetters, 2003. "Fiscal and generational imbalances: new budget measures for new budget priorities," Policy Discussion Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Dec.
  38. Nishimura, Kiyohiko G. & Ozaki, Hiroyuki, 2007. "Irreversible investment and Knightian uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 668-694, September.
  39. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  40. Jianjun Miao, 2004. "A Note on Consumption and Savings under Knightian Uncertainty," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 5(2), pages 299-311, November.
  41. Sujoy Mukerji & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2002. "Ambiguity Aversion and the Absence of Wage Indexation," Economics Series Working Papers 111, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  42. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106.
  43. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
  44. Grenadier, Steven R, 1996. " The Strategic Exercise of Options: Development Cascades and Overbuilding in Real Estate Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(5), pages 1653-79, December.
  45. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Soss, Neal M, 1974. "An Economic Theory of Suicide," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 83-98, Jan.-Feb..
  46. Robert McDonald & Daniel Siegel, 1986. "The Value of Waiting to Invest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 707-727.
  47. Williams, Joseph T, 1991. "Real Estate Development as an Option," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 191-208, June.
  48. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
  49. Nishimura, Kiyohiko G. & Ozaki, Hiroyuki, 2004. "Search and Knightian uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 299-333, December.
  50. Epstein Larry G. & Wang Tan, 1995. "Uncertainty, Risk-Neutral Measures and Security Price Booms and Crashes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 40-82, October.
  51. Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1989. "Maxmin Expected Utility with Non-Unique Prior," Post-Print hal-00753237, HAL.
  52. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
  53. Epstein, L.G. & Zhang, J., 1998. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectivity Unambiguous Event," RCER Working Papers 456, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  54. McDonald, Robert L & Siegel, Daniel R, 1985. "Investment and the Valuation of Firms When There Is an Option to Shut Down," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 331-49, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:35:y:2011:i:4:p:442-461. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.