27 Sept – DEM Lunch Seminar in Economics: Timing Decisions under Uncertainty

  • Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF)
    31 August 2023

Timing Decisions under Uncertainty

Speaker: Sarah Auster
University of Bonn, DE

DATE: Wednesday, 27 September 2023

TIME: 13:00 – 14:00


Campus Kirchberg
6, Rue Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi
L-1359 Luxembourg

– Free seminar
– Registration link: as of September 11th, 2023

Tel: +352 46 66 44 6283


We study the effect of ambiguity on timing decisions. An agent faces a stopping problem with an uncertain stopping payoff and a stochastic time limit. The agent is unsure about the correct model quantifying the uncertainty and seeks to maximize her payoff guarantee over all plausible models. We show that if model uncertainty only concerns the remaining time, the DM optimally acts as soon as this becomes optimal under one of the models. Viewed from an ex-ante perspective, stopping at this point may however be premature. In contrast, if there is uncertainty about the expected payoff from acting, the DM often has incentives to wait longer than initially optimal. Anticipating these incentives, a forward-looking agent may then find it optimal to exert self-control by shortening the waiting time with respect to her ideal policy.

About Sarah Auster:

Sarah Auster is a microeconomic theorist working in the fields of information economics, contract theory, and decision theory. Her current work focuses on learning problems in unfamiliar environments, pricing dynamics with unforeseen contingencies, and adverse selection in decentralized markets. She obtained her PhD from the European University Institute in Florence and has worked as an Assistant Professor at Bocconi University and the University of Mannheim. Currently, she holds the position of Associate Professor at the University of Bonn.

Supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) 17931929