Optimal balking strategies in single-server queues with general service and vacation times

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n many service systems arising in OR/MS applications, the servers may be temporarily unavailable, a fact that affects the sojourn time of a customer and his willingness to join. Several studies that explore the balking behavior of customers in Markovian models with vacations have recently appeared in the literature. In the present paper, we study the balking behavior of customers in the single-server queue with generally distributed service and vacation times. Arriving customers decide whether to enter the system or balk, based on a linear reward-cost structure that incorporates their desire for service, as well as their unwillingness to wait. We identify equilibrium strategies and socially optimal strategies under two distinct information assumptions. Specifically, in a first case, the customers make individual decisions without knowing the system state. In a second case, they are informed about the server's current status. We examine the influence of the information level on the customers' strategic response and we compare the resulting equilibrium and socially optimal strategies.
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