Optimal Inventory Policies when the Demand Distribution is not Known

Author/Editor:

Erik W. Larson ; Sunil Sharma ; Lars J. Olson

Publication Date:

November 1, 2000

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary:

This paper analyzes the stochastic inventory control problem when the demand distribution is not known. In contrast to previous Bayesian inventory models, this paper adopts a non-parametric Bayesian approach in which the firm’s prior information is characterized by a Dirichlet process prior. This provides considerable freedom in the specification of prior information about demand and it permits the accommodation of fixed order costs. As information on the demand distribution accumulates, optimal history-dependent (s,S) rules are shown to converge to an (s,S) rule that is optimal when the underlying demand distribution is known.

Series:

Working Paper No. 00/183

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

November 1, 2000

ISBN/ISSN:

9781451859300/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA1832000

Format:

Paper

Pages:

24

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