Capacity investment under postponement strategies, market competition, and demand uncertainty

Ravi Anupindi, Li Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


We consider duopoly models where firms make decisions on capacity, production, and price under demand uncertainty. Capacity and price decisions are made, respectively, ex ante and ex post demand realizations. The interplay between the timings of demand realization and production decision endows firms with different capabilities. Flexible firms can postpone production decisions until the actual demand curve is observed, but inflexible firms cannot. Under general demand structures and cost functions, we characterize the equilibrium for a symmetric duopoly and establish the strategic equivalence of price and quantity competitions when firms are flexible. We investigate the stochastic order properties of capacity and profit and show that they both increase for a flexible firm when the market is more volatile. We find that flexibility allows a firm to increase investment in capacity and earn a higher profit while benefiting customers by keeping the price in a narrower range; strategic equivalence implies that these properties are robust to market conjectures. We also show that flexibility plays an important role in mitigating the destructive effect of competition when the demand shock is additive; the destructive effect is nonexistent for firms facing multiplicative demand shock. When flexibility decision is endogenous, a firm's strategic flexibility choice depends on the cost of technology as well as the nature of demand shock. In particular, faced with a multiplicative demand shock, firms always choose to be inflexible, whereas all the possible equilibria are observed under additive demand shocks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1876-1890
Number of pages15
JournalManagement Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • Bertrand competition
  • Cournot competition
  • Duopoly
  • Flexibility
  • Postponement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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