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Investment decisions, net present value and bounded rationality


  • Carlo Alberto Magni


The Net Present Value maximizing model has a respectable ancestry and is considered by most scholars to be a theoretically sound decision model. In real-life applications, decision makers use the NPV rule, but apply a subjectively determined hurdle rate, as opposed to the 'correct' opportunity cost of capital. According to a heuristics-and-biases-program approach, this implies that the hurdle-rate rule is a biased heuristic. This work shows that the hurdle-rate rule may be interpreted as a fruitful strategy of bounded rationality, where several domain-specific and project-specific elements are integrated and condensed into an aspiration level. The paper also addresses the issue of a productive cooperation between bounded and unbounded rationality.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Alberto Magni, 2009. "Investment decisions, net present value and bounded rationality," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(8), pages 967-979.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:quantf:v:9:y:2009:i:8:p:967-979 DOI: 10.1080/14697680902849338

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Monti & Riccardo Boero & Nathan Berg & Gerd Gigerenzer & Laura Martignon, 2012. "How do common investors behave? Information search and portfolio choice among bank customers and university students," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 11(2), pages 203-233, December.
    2. Weber, Thomas A., 2014. "On the (non-)equivalence of IRR and NPV," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 25-39.
    3. E. M. Cervellati & P. Pattitoni & M. Savioli, 2016. "Cognitive Biases and Entrepreneurial Under-Diversification," Working Papers wp1076, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.


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