Lumpy capacity investment and disinvestment dynamics

David Besanko*, Ulrich Doraszelski, Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu, Mark Satterthwaite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Capacity addition and withdrawal decisions are among the most important strategic decisions made by firms in oligopolistic industries. In this paper, we develop and analyze a fully dynamic model of an oligopolistic industry with lumpy capacity and lumpy investment/disinvestment. We use our model to suggest answers to two questions: First, what economic factors facilitate preemption races? Second, what economic factors facilitate capacity coordination? With a series of examples we show that low product differentiation, low investment sunkness, and high depreciation tend to promote preemption races. The same examples also show that low product differentiation and low investment sunkness tend to promote capacity coordination. Although depreciation removes capacity, it might impede capacity coordination. Finally, our examples show that multiple equilibria arise over at least some range of parameter values. The distinct structures of these equilibria suggest that firms' expectations play a key role in determining whether or not industry dynamics are characterized by preemption races and capacity coordination. Taken together, our results suggest that preemption races and excess capacity in the short run often go hand-in-hand with capacity coordination in the long run.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1178-1193
Number of pages16
JournalOperations Research
Issue number4 PART 2
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Capacity
  • Capacity coordination
  • Dynamic stochastic game
  • Industry evolution
  • Investment and disinvestment
  • Markov perfect equilibrium
  • Preemption races

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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