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

Good timing: The economics of optimal stopping

  • Davis, Graham A.
  • Cairns, Robert D.

This paper presents an economic interpretation of the optimal “stopping” of perpetual project opportunities under both certainty and uncertainty. Prior to stopping, the expected rate of return from delay exceeds the rate of interest. The expected rate of return from delay is the sum of the expected rate of change in project value and the expected rate of change in the option premium associated with waiting. At stopping the expected rate of return from delay has fallen to the rate of interest. Viewing stopping in this way unifies the theoretical and practical insights of the theory of stopping under certainty and uncertainty.

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): 36 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 255-265

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:36:y:2012:i:2:p:255-265
DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2011.09.008
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. Dixit, Avinash & Pindyck, Robert S & Sodal, Sigbjorn, 1999. "A Markup Interpretation of Optimal Investment Rules," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 179-89, April.
  2. Sarkar, Sudipto, 2003. "The effect of mean reversion on investment under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 377-396, November.
  3. Clarke, Harry R. & Reed, William J., 1988. "A stochastic analysis of land development timing and property valuation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 357-381, August.
  4. Litzenberger, Robert H & Rabinowitz, Nir, 1995. " Backwardation in Oil Futures Markets: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1517-45, December.
  5. Hanemann, W. Michael, 1989. "Information and the concept of option value," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 23-37, January.
  6. Clarke, Harry R & Reed, William J, 1990. "Applications of Optimal Stopping in Resource Economics," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 66(194), pages 254-65, September.
  7. Alberto Moel, 2002. "When Are Real Options Exercised? An Empirical Study of Mine Closings," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 35-64, March.
  8. Alvarez, Luis H.R. & Koskela, Erkki, 2007. "Optimal harvesting under resource stock and price uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2461-2485, July.
  9. Davis, Graham A & Cairns, Robert D, 1999. "Valuing Petroleum Reserves Using Current Net Price," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(2), pages 295-311, April.
  10. Hurn, A S & Wright, Robert E, 1994. "Geology or Economics? Testing Models of Irreversible Investment Using North Sea Oil Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 363-71, March.
  11. Tsekrekos, Andrianos E., 2010. "The effect of mean reversion on entry and exit decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 725-742, April.
  12. Wong, Kit Pong, 2007. "The effect of uncertainty on investment timing in a real options model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2152-2167, July.
  13. Harry R Clarke & William J. Reed, 1989. "The Tree-Cutting Problem in a Stochastic Environment: The case of Age Dependent Growth," Working Papers 1989.01 EDIRC Provider-In, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  14. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Monopoly and the Rate of Extraction of Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 655-61, September.
  15. Gordon Sick & Andrea Gamba, 2005. "Some Important Issues Involving Real Options," Working Papers wpn05-02, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  16. 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.
  17. Alexander Triantis, 2005. "Realizing the Potential of Real Options: Does Theory Meet Practice?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 17(2), pages 8-16.
  18. Murto, Pauli, 2007. "Timing of investment under technological and revenue-related uncertainties," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 1473-1497, May.
  19. Malchow-Moller, Nikolaj & Thorsen, Bo Jellesmark, 2005. "Repeated real options: optimal investment behaviour and a good rule of thumb," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1025-1041, June.
  20. Lund, Diderik, 2005. "How to analyze the investment-uncertainty relationship in real option models?," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 311-322.
  21. Mensink, Paul & Requate, Till, 2005. "The Dixit-Pindyck and the Arrow-Fisher-Hanemann-Henry option values are not equivalent: a note on Fisher (2000)," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 83-88, January.
  22. Svetlana Boyarchenko, 2004. "Irreversible Decisions and Record-Setting News Principles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 557-568, June.
  23. A. Steven Holland & Steven H. Ott & Timothy J. Riddiough, 2000. "The Role of Uncertainty in Investment: An Examination of Competing Investment Models Using Commercial Real Estate Data," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 28(1), pages 33-64.
  24. Margaret Insley & Tony Wirjanto, 2008. "Contrasting two approaches in real options valuation: contingent claims versus dynamic programming," Working Papers 08002, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics.
  25. Reed, William J & Clarke, Harry R, 1990. "Harvest Decisions and Asset Valuation for Biological Resources Exhibiting Size-Dependent Stochastic Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(1), pages 147-69, February.
  26. Jon M. Conrad, 1980. "Quasi-Option Value and the Expected Value of Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 813-820.
  27. Ernesto Mordecki, 2002. "Optimal stopping and perpetual options for Lévy processes," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 473-493.
  28. Fisher, Anthony C. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 1987. "Quasi-option value: Some misconceptions dispelled," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 183-190, June.
  29. Arnott, Richard J & Lewis, Frank D, 1979. "The Transition of Land to Urban Use," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(1), pages 161-69, February.
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:36:y:2012:i:2:p:255-265. 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.