The Enduring Interdependency of Politics and Markets
In this chapter we first put forward some of the key economic arguments for PPPs. Rather than being a systematic treatment of the economics literature, we base much of it on the work of colleagues or finance academics we have met or have read. We highlight some of the scholarly economic arguments favouring PPPs and articulate crucial dimensions contained in these arguments. In particular, we highlight the opposing views of scholars where these exist, and point to any big gaps between what is argued at a theoretical level and what appears to be known at an empirical level. What we find is that economists generally tend to agree on the potential for PPPs to provide efficiencies compared to the public sector alternative. Less agreement, and indeed, strong disagreement exists, however, between economists on the conceptual manner through which rigorous evaluation of PPPs ought to be undertaken. These disagreements, along with a paucity of empirical data supporting PPP superiority, leave a surprisingly wide gap in our knowledge. So, in common with the privatizations undertaken by Thatcher during the 1980s_1990s, there remain huge differences between what is theorized on the one hand about aspects of PPP performance and what is proved empirically on the other.
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