Game theory and port economics: a survey of recent research.
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The last decade has seen a significant upsurge of studies seeking to examine the impacts of port agents’ strategic decisions. The outcome has been a wide range of results and conclusions. The aim of this work is to provide a review of this recent research in the port industry that uses strategic interaction approaches from industrial organization and game theory. The paper concentrates on five topics: ownership, relationship between ports and their hinterlands, port authorities and port operators’ relations, capacity investment decisions, and port specialization. We present the objectives, methodologies and results of the papers reviewed, with special emphasis on how models are developed. The results are not always consistent between the works analyzed. On the one hand, this could be due to the complexity of the port industry and the high number of agents that intervene. Researchers need to simplify reality to build their models by imposing restrictive assumptions. On the other hand, results could be very sensitive to the techniques used or to the differences on the port environment of the countries of study. However, some conclusions can be extracted and they present a good starting point to develop more sophisticated models. Finally, we also propose avenues for future research.
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