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Conditional Optimal Stopping: A Time-Inconsistent Optimization

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  • Marcel Nutz
  • Yuchong Zhang

Abstract

Inspired by recent work of P.-L. Lions on conditional optimal control, we introduce a problem of optimal stopping under bounded rationality: the objective is the expected payoff at the time of stopping, conditioned on another event. For instance, an agent may care only about states where she is still alive at the time of stopping, or a company may condition on not being bankrupt. We observe that conditional optimization is time-inconsistent due to the dynamic change of the conditioning probability and develop an equilibrium approach in the spirit of R. H. Strotz' work for sophisticated agents in discrete time. Equilibria are found to be essentially unique in the case of a finite time horizon whereas an infinite horizon gives rise to non-uniqueness and other interesting phenomena. We also introduce a theory which generalizes the classical Snell envelope approach for optimal stopping by considering a pair of processes with Snell-type properties.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Nutz & Yuchong Zhang, 2019. "Conditional Optimal Stopping: A Time-Inconsistent Optimization," Papers 1901.05802, arXiv.org, revised Oct 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1901.05802
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Soren Christensen & Kristoffer Lindensjo, 2019. "Time-inconsistent stopping, myopic adjustment & equilibrium stability: with a mean-variance application," Papers 1909.11921, arXiv.org, revised Jan 2020.
    2. Soren Christensen & Kristoffer Lindensjo, 2019. "Moment constrained optimal dividends: precommitment \& consistent planning," Papers 1909.10749, arXiv.org.

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