University of Oulu

Shekarian, E., & Flapper, S. D. (2021). Analyzing the Structure of Closed-Loop Supply Chains: A Game Theory Perspective. Sustainability, 13(3), 1397. MDPI AG. Retrieved from

Analyzing the structure of closed-loop supply chains : a game theory perspective

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Author: Shekarian, Ehsan1; Flapper, Simme Douwe2
Organizations: 1Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5612 AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-02-09


Closed-loop supply chains (CLSCs) are seen as one of the circular economy’s leading approaches for reducing our natural environment load. Many CLSC models require collaboration among different parties. Game theory (GT) offers a way to consider the profits of all parties in a CLSC, providing insight into the costs and benefits to the involved parties in an objective and quantitative way. Presently, available reviews on the use of GT, in the context of CLSC, are quite limited and consider only a few relevant elements. Here, we present a new and more extensive framework, focusing on the collaboration structure of CLSCs. It contains a content-based analysis of 230 papers based on a four-step systematic literature review process. The characteristics studied are channels for collection, reprocessing and selling, the planning horizon, and the types of games. The structures found are graphically reviewed, leading to 196 different structures. The results show that, so far, most attention has been paid to the dual-channel collection, where collection by two retailers (dual-retailer) is the most studied case. With respect to selling, most attention has been paid to situations with two selling channels (dual-selling), i.e., one channel managed by a manufacturer and one channel managed by a remanufacturer. Studies have prioritized the role of manufacturers as that of the leader and collector. Finally, a number of directions for further research are pointed out.

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Series: Sustainability
ISSN: 2071-1050
ISSN-E: 2071-1050
ISSN-L: 2071-1050
Volume: 13
Issue: 3
Article number: 1397
DOI: 10.3390/su13031397
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 222 Other engineering and technologies
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Dataset Reference: Supplementary material
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (