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A Model of Project Evaluation with Limited Attention


  • Gifford, Sharon
  • Wilson, Charles A


This paper characterizes the optimal policy for a model in which manager may adopt an endogenous number of projects but has only limited resources to devote to their evaluation and maintenance. In any period, the manager may discard any subset of existing projects but may evaluate only one existing or one new project which is then either discarded or restored. Both its current return and the probability with which a project may be restored depends only on the number of periods since its last evaluated. For a manager whose objective is to maximize the sum of discounted returns, the optimal policy takes one of two forms. A "discard" policy specifies that the manager evaluate a new project in each period and discard current projects at some critical age. An "age inspection" policy specifies that the manager evaluate a new project only if all current projects are sufficiently young.

Suggested Citation

  • Gifford, Sharon & Wilson, Charles A, 1995. "A Model of Project Evaluation with Limited Attention," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 5(1), pages 67-78, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:5:y:1995:i:1:p:67-78

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Skiba, A K, 1978. "Optimal Growth with a Convex-Concave Production Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(3), pages 527-539, May.
    2. Benhabib, Jess & Radner, Roy, 1992. "The Joint Exploitation of a Productive Asset: A Game-Theoretic Approach," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 2(2), pages 155-190, April.
    3. Dockner, Engelbert J. & Sorger, Gerhard, 1996. "Existence and Properties of Equilibria for a Dynamic Game on Productive Assets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 209-227, October.
    4. Dutta, Prajit K & Sundaram, Rangarajan, 1992. "Markovian Equilibrium in a Class of Stochastic Games: Existence Theorems for Discounted and Undiscounted Models," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 2(2), pages 197-214, April.
    5. Reinganum, Jennifer F & Stokey, Nancy L, 1985. "Oligopoly Extraction of a Common Property Natural Resource: The Importance of the Period of Commitment in Dynamic Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(1), pages 161-173, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hirshleifer, David & Lim, Seongyeon & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2004. "Disclosure to an Audience with Limited Attention," Working Paper Series 2004-21, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    2. Mark Casson & Nigel Wadeson, 2007. "The Discovery of Opportunities: Extending the Economic Theory of the Entrepreneur," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 285-300, April.
    3. Gifford, Sharon, 1997. "Limited attention and the role of the venture capitalist," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 459-482, November.
    4. Hirshleifer, David & Lim, Sonya S. & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2004. "Disclosure to a Credulous Audience: The Role of Limited Attention," MPRA Paper 5198, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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