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Buridan's Ass and a Menu of Options


  • Svetlana Boyarchenko

    (The University of Texas at Austin)


The goal of the paper is to study how a menu of options affects decisions of a rational agent facing uncertainty over future payoff streams. Using the real options approach, we demonstrate that multiple options not only increase the barrier which the underlying stochastic variable has to reach in order investment became optimal, but cause the investor to be inactive even when the cost of investment is vanishing. As a technical contribution, the paper suggests a robust method of solution of a two-point optimal stopping problem.

Suggested Citation

  • Svetlana Boyarchenko, 2005. "Buridan's Ass and a Menu of Options," Game Theory and Information 0501006, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 13 Dec 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0501006
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David K. Levine & Drew Fudenberg, 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1449-1476, December.
    2. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Choice and Procrastination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 121-160.
    3. Svetlana Boyarchenko, 2004. "Irreversible Decisions and Record-Setting News Principles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 557-568, June.
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    More about this item


    Real options; procrastination; choice between two projects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies

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