Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Operations and Supply Chain Management
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics
Dr. Michael Haughton
Dr. Shirley Chen
Dr. Ke Cao
This multidisciplinary dissertation seeks to provide a theoretically and practically informed, contemporary understanding of the mechanisms of trucking freight spot markets in North America. This thesis builds upon background from technology and policy innovations in markets and adopts an increasingly broader interdisciplinary lens in operational sciences. To this end, I consulted a broad range of literature, designed and conducted three experiments, and completed a theoretical review. The work, presented in the form of three essays, showcases the workings of trucking freight spot markets and operational sciences at large from a comprehensive perspective, emphasizing the role of information, human cognitive biases, and regulatory and market policy.
The first essay initiates high-level discussions, suggesting that the distinct characteristics of the trucking spot market provide an optimal platform for introducing new policies. One of the key research gaps that this essay narrows is based on technologies (e.g., information) that are often neglected by policy makers and scholars. Essay 2 delves into how information can impact the spot market beyond just financial metrics, with potential implications for its carbon footprint and service levels. Finally, Essay 3 explores the influence of individuals' cognitive attributes on their behavior in market auctions, particularly emphasizing the role of perceived scarcity. This essay highlights how such perceived scarcity can give rise to information bias and risk aversion.
This dissertation provides several contributions to supply chain management scholars and trucking industry practitioners. Specifically, the first essay draws on a historical empirical account of the trucking spot market's operation in North America at the societal level. It presents a set of high-level theoretical propositions. These propositions suggest ways to enhance market efficiency and environmental sustainability through potential market and governmental policy interventions. The second essay elucidates how the availability and application of information at the market level can impact both economic and environmental outcomes. The primary contribution of the second essay centers on the notion that the absence or presence of knowledge about the shipper's value can result in suboptimal outcomes. The third essay found that past failures in auctions could foster perceptions of resource scarcity. Such behavioral tendencies can lead to decision biases that diminish profits. Addressing these biases is of paramount importance for the trucking industry, given the active participation of numerous small carriers and single-truck operators in trucking spot markets.
Espahbod, Shervin, "Market Information, Human Behaviour, and Policy: Dissecting the Trucking Freight Spot Markets in Three Essays" (2024). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2606.
Available for download on Monday, October 19, 2026
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