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The Opportunity Cost of Using Excess Capacity

Author

Listed:
  • Robyn McLaughlin
  • Robert A. Taggart
  • Jr.

Abstract

When a new project proposal calls for the use of existing, but currently idle, facilities, an opportunity cost should be charged to the new project for using those facilities. Capacity in place gives the firm an option to produce. When capacity is not available, the firm has an option to invest. The true opportunity cost of using the excess capacity is the change in the value of the firm's options that is caused by diverting capacity to some other purpose. Techniques exist for estimating this cost, but we argue that they ignore the option elements of the problem. We show that the true opportunity cost can vary widely in different circumstances and that existing measurement techniques err primarily by focusing oil the cost of specific investment programs rather than on the value of a firm's production and investment options.

Suggested Citation

  • Robyn McLaughlin & Robert A. Taggart & Jr., 1992. "The Opportunity Cost of Using Excess Capacity," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 21(2), Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:fma:fmanag:mclaughlin92
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    Cited by:

    1. Weiland, Brandon & Sesmero, Juan Pablo & Preckel, Paul & Wetzstein, Michael E., 2017. "Can Wood Pellets Save Coal?," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258250, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Reindorp, Matthew J. & Fu, Michael C., 2011. "Capital renewal as a real option," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 214(1), pages 109-117, October.
    3. Plato, Gerald E., 2001. "The Soybean Processing Decision: Exercising A Real Option On Processing Margins," Technical Bulletins 33567, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    4. Yilmaz, Fatih, 2001. "Conditional investment policy under uncertainty and irreversibility," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(3), pages 681-686, August.
    5. Lim, Terence & Lo, Andrew W. & Merton, Robert C. & Scholes, Myron S., 2006. "The Derivatives Sourcebook," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 1(5–6), pages 365-572, April.
    6. Stutzman, Sarah & Weiland, Brandon & Preckel, Paul & Wetzstein, Michael, 2017. "Optimal replacement policies for an uncertain rejuvenated asset," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 21-33.

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