Publication / 2015

The value of a fallback option


Sascha Füllbrunn (Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands)

Kreiner, S.

Stefan Palan (University of Graz, Austria)


Füllbrunn, S., Kreiner, S., & Palan, S. (2015). The value of a fallback option. Central European Journal of Operations Research, 23, 375-388.

Fallback options are relatively common in the business context. If for example a firm fails to acquire a certain target firm—a first-best solution—it may decide to attempt the acquisition of another takeover target—a second best solution. When a decision maker tries to obtain the first-best solution, she may frequently choose different levels of effort to invest into its pursuit. This level of effort is generally influenced by the availability of a fallback option in case she fails to succeed in obtaining her first-best solution. Using a second price auction mechanism, we experimentally test whether subjects react to the existence and attractiveness of this fallback option by changing their bidding behavior. Our results show that subjects only partially adjust to the existence of the fallback option according to the theoretical prediction.