Analyzing the Structure of Closed-Loop Supply Chains: A Game Theory Perspective

Ehsan Shekarian (Corresponding author), Simme Douwe P. Flapper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1397
Number of pages32
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2021


  • Closed-loop supply chain
  • Game theory
  • Network
  • Planning horizon
  • Reprocessing
  • Structure


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