The Challenge of Public–Private Partnerships

The Challenge of Public–Private Partnerships

Learning from International Experience

Edited by Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve

The aim of the book is to investigate how PPP reforms function in comparison to the more traditional methods of providing public sector services and infrastructure and who typically experiences the successes and failures of these reforms.

Chapter 5: Political issues of public-private partnerships

Ken Coghill and Dennis Woodward

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy

Extract

5. Political issues of public–private partnerships Ken Coghill and Dennis Woodward INTRODUCTION Public–private partnerships (PPPs) appear to be an emerging feature of public policy in many parts of the world. While it is arguable whether this is a new creation or is qualitatively different from ‘contracting out’, the use of PPPs to finance infrastructure development and the tighter organizational linkages between public and private sector actors does seem to mark a departure from previous practice. PPPs, in this respect therefore, might mark the emergence of a new phenomenon rather than simply being a new term for something long in existence. They are, however, a manifestation that has emerged out of the privatization movement and that has been justified by the ideology that has informed the drive for privatization. The use of the new expression, therefore, can be seen in part as a means to avoid the opprobrium that has come to be associated with both ‘contracting out’ and ‘privatization’ in some quarters (Savas, 2000). To this extent, PPPs can be seen as ‘rebadged’ privatization. Unlike privatization, however, PPPs have thus far failed to become a major political issue. Governments have generally been able to pursue them without opposition and indeed, almost without having to justify their use. This, in itself, requires some explanation. This chapter, therefore, seeks to examine this and other political issues associated with PPPs. In particular, it endeavours to explore why governments have embraced PPPs; who benefits from their use; what problems or...

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