Asymmetric information and economies of scale in service contracting

Mustafa Akan*, Bariş Ata, Martin A. Lariviere

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We consider outsourcing in two important service settings: call center and order fulfillment operations. An important factor in both is the inherent economies of scale. Therefore, we advance a unifying model covering both applications and study the associated contracting problem under information asymmetry. At the time of contracting, the outsourcing firm, "the originator," faces uncertainty regarding the demand volume but has private information about its probability distribution. The true demand is quickly observed once the service commences. The service provider invests in capacity before the start of the operation and offers a menu of contracts to screen different types of the originator. Adopting a mechanism design approach, we prove that a menu of two-part tariffs achieves the full-information solution. Hence, it is optimal among all possible contracts (in both settings) because of economies of scale and contractibility of realized demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-72
Number of pages15
JournalManufacturing and Service Operations Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Call centers
  • Economies of scale
  • Information
  • Order fulfillment operations
  • Service outsourcing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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