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Managing Multiple Research Projects

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  • Alejandro Francetich

Abstract

A decision maker can experiment on up to two alternatives simultaneously over time. One and only one of these alternatives can produce successes, according to a Poisson process with known arrival rate; but there is uncertainty as to which alternative is the profitable one. The decision maker only observes the outcomes of the alternatives chosen, and choosing each alternative entails a cost. Simultaneous experimentation involves higher costs but can produce more data. At the same time, since the alternatives are negatively correlated, the outcomes of either one are informative about the other. If the costs are high and she is sufficiently impatient, the decision maker never experiments on both alternatives at once. Otherwise, if she starts with a single alternative that produces no successes, she becomes gradually pessimistic and eventually takes on the other alternative while keeping the first one — despite the higher costs and the negative correlation. Keywords: Experimentation, two-armed bandits, multi-choice bandits, negatively correlated arms, Poisson process JEL Classification Numbers: D83, D90

Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Francetich, 2014. "Managing Multiple Research Projects," Working Papers 516, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:516
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.igier.unibocconi.it/wp/2014/516.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicolas Klein & Sven Rady, 2011. "Negatively Correlated Bandits," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 693-732.
    2. Nyarko, Yaw, 1994. "On the Convexity of the Value Function in Bayesian Optimal Control Problems," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(2), pages 303-309, March.
    3. Rady, Sven & Keller, Godfrey, 2010. "Strategic experimentation with Poisson bandits," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(2), May.
    4. Forand, Jean Guillaume, 2015. "Keeping your options open," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 47-68.
    5. Bergemann, Dirk & Valimaki, Juuso, 2001. "Stationary multi-choice bandit problems," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(10), pages 1585-1594, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alejandro Francetich & David M. Kreps, 2014. "Choosing a Good Toolkit: An Essay in Behavioral Economics," Working Papers 524, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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