Elgar original reference
Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Carsten Greve and Anthony E. Boardman
Chapter 1: Introduction: The PPP Phenomenon and its Evaluation
Graeme A. Hodge, Carsten Greve and Anthony E. Boardman Introduction There has been much debate about public–private partnerships (PPPs) over the past few decades. Indeed, the whole partnership movement has become increasingly professionalized, technical and rational. But beneath the veneer, a paradox remains. Despite its popularity and its iconic status as a visible pillar of contemporary public management practices, the PPP phenomenon remains an enigma. We still debate its definition, its historical origins and the degree to which it constitutes a genuinely new policy delivery solution to the provision of public infrastructure. We still debate why, if it is simply a modest evolution from traditional delivery techniques, some jurisdictions have taken on PPPs with enthusiasm while others have not. And we still debate the degree to which the real challenges faced by PPPs are not the technical complexity first evident, but the accusations of ‘illegitimacy’ that remain,1 as well as concerns about the crucial governance challenges current governments are now placing on future generations through long-term contracts. In other words, despite the popularity of the partnership talk, we have yet to agree on just what PPPs actually are, and whether they are really a ‘revolution’ in thinking or just another fashionable business idea sold to us from the ‘smartest guys in the room’.2 In thinking through this paradox, it is essential to work out just exactly what is new. With public infrastructure provision, for example, most governments around the world have for years made decisions about large-scale public...