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Outsourcing and capacity planning in an uncertain global environment

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Abstract

Firms employing offshore outsourcing strategies may face both exchange rate and demand uncertainties. In this paper, we show that the firms may benefit from operational option to switch production by keeping capacities with both domestic and foreign suppliers. The value of the operational option increases as the exchange rate uncertainty or demand uncertainty increases. In addition, when the firms become risk-averse, they may use domestic capacity to hedge against offshore capacity. As a result, the firms may choose to hold local capacity even if it exhibits negative marginal contribution to the profit. Furthermore, risk-averse firms may keep more total capacity than risk-neutral firms.

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