Comparative Statics Analysis of Some Operations Management Problems


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Virginia Tech


We propose a novel analytic approach for the comparative statics analysis of operations management problems on the capacity investment decision and the influenza (flu) vaccine composition decision. Our approach involves exploiting the properties of the underlying mathematical models, and linking those properties to the concept of stochastic orders relationship. The use of stochastic orders allows us to establish our main results without restriction to a specific distribution. A major strength of our approach is that it is "scalable," i.e., it applies to capacity investment decision problem with any number of non-independent (i.e., demand or resource sharing) products and resources, and to the influenza vaccine composition problem with any number of candidate strains, without a corresponding increase in computational effort. This is unlike the current approaches commonly used in the operations management literature, which typically involve a parametric analysis followed by the use of the implicit function theorem. Providing a rigorous framework for comparative statics analysis, which can be applied to other problems that are not amenable to traditional parametric analysis, is our main contribution.

We demonstrate this approach on two problems: (1) Capacity investment decision, and (2) influenza vaccine composition decision. A comparative statics analysis is integral to the study of these problems, as it allows answers to important questions such as, "does the firm acquire more or less of the different resources available as demand uncertainty increases? does the firm benefit from an increase in demand uncertainty? how does the vaccine composition change as the yield uncertainty increases?" Using our proposed approach, we establish comparative statics results on how the newsvendor's expected profit and optimal capacity decision change with demand risk and demand dependence in multi-product multi-resource newsvendor networks; and how the societal vaccination benefit, the manufacturer's profit, and the vaccine output change with the risk of random yield of strains.



Comparative Statics Analysis, Capacity Planning, Influenza Vaccine, Yield Uncertainty, Stochastic Programming, Game-theoretic Model, Stochastic Orders