Numerical Analysis of a Free-Boundary Singular Control Problem in Financial Economics

By Ayman HindyChi-fu HuangHang Zhu
1993| Working Paper No. 1267

We analyze a numerical scheme for solving the consumption and investment allocation problem studied in a companion paper by Hindy, Huang, and Zhu (1993). For this problem, Bellman’s equation is a differential inequality involving a second order partial differential equation with gradient constraints. The solution involves finding a free-boundary at which consumption occurs. We prove that the value function is the unique viscosity solution to Bellman’s equation. We describe a numerical analysis technique based on Markov chain approximation schemes. We approximate the original continuous time problem by a sequence of discrete parameter Markov chains control problems. We prove that the value functions and the optimal investment policies in the sequence of the approximating control problems converge to the value function and the optimal investment policy, if it exists, of the original problem. We also show that the optimal consumption and abstinence regions in the sequence of approximating problems converge to those in the original problem.