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Horizon-unbiased utility functions


  • Henderson, Vicky
  • Hobson, David


In this paper we consider a class of mixed optimal control/optimal stopping problems related to the choice of the best time to sell a single unit of an indivisible asset. We assume that in addition to the indivisible asset, the agent has access to a financial market. Investments in the financial market can be used for hedging, but the financial assets are only partially correlated with the indivisible asset, so that the agent faces an incomplete markets problem. We show how, even in the infinite horizon case, it is possible to express the problem as a maximisation problem with respect to an inter-temporal utility function evaluated at the sale time, but that this objective function must satisfy consistency conditions over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Henderson, Vicky & Hobson, David, 2007. "Horizon-unbiased utility functions," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 117(11), pages 1621-1641, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:spapps:v:117:y:2007:i:11:p:1621-1641

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A. Oberman & T. Zariphopoulou, 2003. "Pricing early exercise contracts in incomplete markets," Computational Management Science, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 75-107, December.
    2. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    3. Vicky Henderson, 2002. "Valuation Of Claims On Nontraded Assets Using Utility Maximization," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(4), pages 351-373.
    4. 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.
    5. Hugonnier, Julien & Morellec, Erwan, 2007. "Corporate control and real investment in incomplete markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 1781-1800, May.
    6. Henderson, Vicky & Hobson, David G., 2002. "Real options with constant relative risk aversion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 329-355, December.
    7. Ioannis Karatzas & (*), S. G. Kou, 1998. "Hedging American contingent claims with constrained portfolios," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 215-258.
    8. Tahir Choulli & Christophe Stricker, 2005. "Minimal Entropy-Hellinger Martingale Measure In Incomplete Markets," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 465-490.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian-Oliver Ewald & Zhaojun Yang, 2008. "Utility based pricing and exercising of real options under geometric mean reversion and risk aversion toward idiosyncratic risk," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research (GOR);Nederlands Genootschap voor Besliskunde (NGB), vol. 68(1), pages 97-123, August.
    2. Tahir Choulli & Junfeng Ma, 2013. "Explicit Description of HARA Forward Utilities and Their Optimal Portfolios," Papers 1307.0785,
    3. Henderson, Vicky, 2010. "Is corporate control effective when managers face investment timing decisions in incomplete markets?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1062-1076, June.
    4. repec:spr:compst:v:68:y:2008:i:1:p:97-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Michail Anthropelos, 2011. "Forward Exponential Performances: Pricing and Optimal Risk Sharing," Papers 1109.3908,, revised Mar 2013.
    6. Choulli, Tahir & Stricker, Christophe, 2009. "Comparing the minimal Hellinger martingale measure of order q to the q-optimal martingale measure," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 119(4), pages 1368-1385, April.
    7. Jonathan Evans & Vicky Henderson & David Hobson, 2008. "Optimal Timing For An Indivisible Asset Sale," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 545-567.
    8. Gechun Liang & Thaleia Zariphopoulou, 2015. "Representation of homothetic forward performance processes in stochastic factor models via ergodic and infinite horizon BSDE," Papers 1511.04863,, revised Nov 2016.
    9. Grasselli, Matheus & Henderson, Vicky, 2009. "Risk aversion and block exercise of executive stock options," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 109-127, January.
    10. Timothy C. Johnson, 2013. "Reciprocity as the foundation of Financial Economics," Papers 1310.2798,
    11. Whalley, A. Elizabeth, 2011. "Optimal R&D investment for a risk-averse entrepreneur," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 413-429, April.
    12. Sigrid Kallblad & Jan Obloj & Thaleia Zariphopoulou, 2013. "Time--consistent investment under model uncertainty: the robust forward criteria," Papers 1311.3529,, revised Nov 2014.


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