DP1625 | Excess Capacity as an Incentive Device

Publication Date

30/05/1997

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Abstract

This paper studies the factors determining plant size and interplant output allocation within the boundaries of a multiplant firm under conditions of demand uncertainty. It shows that asymmetric information between headquarters and individual plants is one factor determining plant size and output allocation: since the existence of excess capacity creates ?high powered? incentives for individual plants, capacity levels in a second-best setting exceed the corresponding benchmark in a first-best world if capacity prices are low. The presence of ?agency costs? in the case of fully-utilized capacity reverses this result for high-capacity prices. Also, in a recession output is not necessarily assigned to the plant with the lowest production costs.