IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Wald Revisited: The Optimal Level of Experimentation

This paper revisits Wald's (1947) sequential experimentation paradigm, now assuming that an impatient decision maker can run variable-size experiments each period at some increasing and strictly convex cost before finally choosing an irreversible action. We translate this natural discrete time experimentation story into a tractable control of variance for a continuous time diffusion. Here we robustly characterize the optimal experimentation level: It is rising in the confidence about the project outcome, and for not very convex cost functions, the random process of experimentation levels has a positive drift over time. We also explore several parametric shifts unique to our framework. Among them, we discover what is arguably an 'anti-folk' result: Where the experimentation level is positive, it is often higher for a more impatient decision maker. This paper more generally suggests that a long-sought economic paradigm that delivers a sensible law of demand for information is our dynamic one namely, allowing the decision maker an eternal repurchase (resample) option.

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: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d11b/d1176.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1176.

as
in new window

Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Econometrica (November 2001), 69(6): 1629-1644
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1176
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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. Keller, Godfrey & Rady, Sven, 1999. "Optimal Experimentation in a Changing Environment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 475-507, July.
  2. repec:cup:etheor:v:9:y:1993:i:3:p:431-50 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris, 1999. "Strategic Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 349-374, March.
  4. McLennan, Andrew, 1984. "Price dispersion and incomplete learning in the long run," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 331-347, September.
  5. Joseph A. Dimasi & Grabowski, Henry G. & Vernon, John, 1995. "R&D Costs, Innovative Output and Firm Size in the Pharmaceutical Industry," Working Papers 95-16, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  6. Dutta, Prajit K., 1997. "Optimal management of an R&D budget," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 575-602.
  7. Cressie, Noel & Morgan, Peter B., 1993. "The VPRT: A Sequential Testing Procedure Dominating the SPRT," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 431-450, June.
  8. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "The Ignorant Monopolist: Optimal Learning with Endogenous Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 565-81, August.
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:cwl:cwldpp:1176. 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: (Glena Ames)

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.