Utility maximization with consumption habit formation in incomplete markets



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This dissertation studies a class of path-dependent stochastic control problems with applications to Finance. In particular, we solve the open problem of the continuous time expected utility maximization with addictive consumption habit formation in incomplete markets under two independent scenarios.

In the first project, we study the continuous time utility optimization problem with consumption habit formation in general incomplete semimartingale financial markets. Introducing the set of auxiliary state processes and the modified dual space, we embed our original problem into an abstract time-separable utility maximization problem with a shadow random endowment on the product space. We establish existence and uniqueness of the optimal solution using convex duality by defining the primal value function as depending on two variables, i.e., the initial wealth and the initial standard of living. We also provide market independent sufficient conditions both on the stochastic discounting processes of the habit formation process and on the utility function for the well-posedness of our original optimization problem. Under the same assumptions, we can carefully modify the classical proofs in the approach of convex duality analysis when the auxiliary dual process is not necessarily integrable.

In the second project, we examine an example of the optimal investment and consumption problem with both habit-formation and partial observations in incomplete markets driven by It^{o} processes. The individual investor develops addictive consumption habits gradually while only observing the market stock prices but not the instantaneous rates of return, which follow an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process. Applying the Kalman-Bucy filtering theorem and Dynamic Programming arguments, we solve the associated Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman(HJB) equation fully explicitly for this path dependent stochastic control problem in the case of power utility preferences. We provide the optimal investment and consumption policy in explicit feedback form using rigorous verification arguments.