The Politics of Public–Private Partnerships in Western Europe

The Politics of Public–Private Partnerships in Western Europe

Comparative Perspectives

Thomas Krumm

This comprehensive book provides a comparative policy analysis of public-private partnerships in 14 Western European countries from Scandinavia to Greece, bringing together insights from government, economics and politics. Thomas Krumm describes and analyses the forms and extents of collaboration between the state and private sector organisations, focusing on political drivers for a policy change in favour of PPP and the supportive and limiting socioeconomic and institutional conditions. Using comparative data, the author charts key policies and actors involved in supporting collaboration between the state and private business organisations across these countries.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Thomas Krumm

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy

Extract

If the saying ‘there’s life in the old dog yet’ is true, then the Public–Private Partnership (PPP) approach to public procurement and service delivery still has its time. PPPs have received much scholarly attention from a broad spectrum of disciplines; and they have faced considerable scepticism in a lot of countries. In others, under certain governments, they have been pushed forwards and even sometimes regarded as ‘the only game in town’. In terms of party politics, it is difficult to characterize them as more favoured by centre-right or centre-left governments. In the United Kingdom (UK), they were championed by the incoming New Labour government, commencing in 1997; Germany under the ‘red–green’ coalitions joined them soon thereafter. However, Italy under Berlusconi, France under Sarkozy, Spain under Aznar, Greece under Karamanlis and Austria under Schüssel are examples of centre-right governments strongly committed to the PPP approach, too. Even the UK under the conservative Major administration and later under the Cameron–Clegg coalition was supportive of PPP, or the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) as it was labelled in the early 1990s by the British government. Thus, one of the aims of this book is to analyse the partisan dimensions of support or obstruction of PPP across a sample of 14 states over the period 1990 to 2009. However, political parties are not the only actors who ‘make politics’.