Structuring Public–Private Research Partnerships for Success

Structuring Public–Private Research Partnerships for Success

Empowering University Partners

Gordon Rausser, Holly Amedon and Reid Stevens

As funding for universities and governmental research units has declined, these institutions have turned to the private sector to augment their research and development budgets. This book presents a framework for structuring public-private research partnerships that protect both these institutions’ academic freedom and the private firm’s corporate interests. This formulation is developed using insights originating from the incomplete contracting and collective decision making literatures. The book presents a number of template designs for a variety of research partnerships.

Chapter 9: Impure goods and the structure of contracts

Gordon Rausser, Holly Amedon and Reid Stevens

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


We extend our analysis to impure goods that are generated from a public–private research partnership (PPRP). An impure good has attributes of both public and private goods; that is, the good is either non-rival or non-excludable, but not both. We present another set of control right allocations that depend on the degree of impurity and the financial investment of each partner. Much of the literature on impure goods is based on partnerships in countries attempting to improve management and service provisions of natural resources. We present several case studies on both infrastructure investment and renewable energy. We establish a framework for analyzing these contracts based on control rights that stem from contingencies in the partnership’s research and development process. Our framework aligns incentives to allow renewable energy PPRPs to achieve long-run success.

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