MULTIOBJECTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE PANAMA CANAL: THE VALUE OF A MARINE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM

Multiobjective analysis, an extension of traditional benefit-cost analysis, is applied to the issues facing U.S. decision-makers relative to the Panama Canal. Presently held objectives (defined in a multiobjective sense) of concerned U.S. decision-makers are ascertained from their public statements. Six possible management and construction alternatives for the Panama Canal are described. An aggregate consumption benefit accounting of the present Panama Canal is made to provide an estimate of the Canal's economic worth for the United States. A similar analysis is performed on the six alternatives to estimate their economic effect. Aside from a U.S. economic welfare objective, U.S. national security and foreign policy are also found to be of concern to many. In order to analyze the effect of Panama Canal decision-making on these objectives, new metrics are deviced. For the U.S. national security objective it is seen that the sailing time of U.S. Atlantic Fleet naval ships to several South American sites in the Pacific, which could be affected by changes in the capacity or availability of the Panama Canal, can serve as a simple metric. The economic effect of Panama Canal decisions on the Republic of Panama, measured in aggregate consumption terms, is seen as a possible metric for a U.S. foreign relations objective. A second possible metric for this objective is seen to be the economic effect of Panama Canal decisions on the rest of the world excluding the United States, measured in aggregate consumption terms. It may be concluded from the research conducted in the thesis that Panama Canal decisions will likely have an insignificant effect on the economic welfare of the United States and that moral, symbolic, national security or other concerns should exercise the primary role in U.S. decision-making relative to the Panama Canal.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Paper copy $48.00; Microfilm $11.00.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Department of Civil Engineering, 77 Massachusetts Avenue
    Cambridge, MA  USA  02139
  • Authors:
    • Gibbs, S R
  • Publication Date: 1976-5

Media Info

  • Pagination: 431 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00147559
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Report/Paper Numbers: PhD Thesis
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 16 1977 12:00AM