Advances in Decision Sciences
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 287579, 18 pages
Research Article

A Longstaff and Schwartz Approach to the Early Election Problem

1Energy Edge Pty Ltd., 141 Queen Street, Brisbane, Queensland 4000, Australia
2Department of Mathematics, Universitas Katolik Parahyangan, Jalan Ciumbuleuit 94, Bandung 40141, Indonesia

Received 26 April 2012; Accepted 13 September 2012

Academic Editor: David Bulger

Copyright © 2012 Elliot Tonkes and Dharma Lesmono. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In many democratic parliamentary systems, election timing is an important decision availed to governments according to sovereign political systems. Prudent governments can take advantage of this constitutional option in order to maximize their expected remaining life in power. The problem of establishing the optimal time to call an election based on observed poll data has been well studied with several solution methods and various degrees of modeling complexity. The derivation of the optimal exercise boundary holds strong similarities with the American option valuation problem from mathematical finance. A seminal technique refined by Longstaff and Schwartz in 2001 provided a method to estimate the exercise boundary of the American options using a Monte Carlo method and a least squares objective. In this paper, we modify the basic technique to establish the optimal exercise boundary for calling a political election. Several innovative adaptations are required to make the method work with the additional complexity in the electoral problem. The transfer of Monte Carlo methods from finance to determine the optimal exercise of real-options appears to be a new approach.