Finance and Stochastics

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 785–818 | Cite as

Proving regularity of the minimal probability of ruin via a game of stopping and control

  • Erhan Bayraktar
  • Virginia R. Young


We reveal an interesting convex duality relationship between two problems: (a) minimizing the probability of lifetime ruin when the rate of consumption is stochastic and the individual can invest in a Black–Scholes financial market; (b) a controller-and-stopper problem, in which the controller controls the drift and volatility of a process in order to maximize a running reward based on that process, and the stopper chooses the time to stop the running reward and pays the controller a final amount at that time. Our primary goal is to show that the minimal probability of ruin, whose stochastic representation does not have a classical form as does the utility maximization problem (i.e., the objective’s dependence on the initial values of the state variables is implicit), is the unique classical solution of its Hamilton–Jacobi–Bellman (HJB) equation, which is a non-linear boundary-value problem. We establish our goal by exploiting the convex duality relationship between (a) and (b).


Probability of lifetime ruin Stochastic games Optimal stopping Optimal investment Viscosity solution Hamilton–Jacobi–Bellman equation Variational inequality 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)

93E20 91B28 60G40 

JEL Classification

G11 C61 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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