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Institutional structure and agency in the governance of spatial diversification of port system evolution in Latin America.

Wilmsmeier, Gordon; Monios, Jason

Authors

Gordon Wilmsmeier

Jason Monios



Abstract

Port development is challenged not only by growing trade flows, but by institutional conditions that are more contextual, exhibiting aspects of both path dependence and contingency. This paper analyses the intersection of two clear trends in the evolution of port systems, decentralisation of port governance and deconcentration of port traffic. The goal is to identify how the institutional setting governing the spatial diversification of container port activity has changed as a result of this intersection and whether it is suitable to deal with new challenges as they arise. An additional question is whether the new institutional settings created by port reform in developing countries are suitable to support the successful application of port devolution policies imported from developed countries with different political and institutional histories.

Based on four national case studies of port reform in Latin America, the paper discusses how the interplay between structure and agency in the reform of port governance has in some cases created merely a “new” path dependency. Findings show that short-term gains in technical efficiency in individual ports contrast with a long-term loss of power from the public to the private sector and the lack of integrated transport and logistics policies necessary to support ongoing port development.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2015
Online Publication Date Mar 4, 2017
Publication Date 2016-02
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2015
Publicly Available Date Aug 30, 2017
Print ISSN 0966-6923
Electronic ISSN 1873-1236
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Pages 294-307
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2015.02.004
Keywords Port development; Devolution; Institutions; Competition; Governance; Path dependency;
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/7673
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2015.02.004
Contract Date May 15, 2017

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