The Logic of Public–Private Partnerships
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The Logic of Public–Private Partnerships

The Enduring Interdependency of Politics and Markets

Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve

This book examines Public–Private Partnerships (PPP), and tracks the movement from early technical optimism to the reality of PPP as a phenomenon in the political economy. Today's economic turbulence sees many PPP assumptions changed: what contracts can achieve, who bears the real risks, where governments get advice and who invests. As the gap between infrastructure needs and available financing widens, governments and businesses both must seek new ways to make contemporary PPP approaches work.
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Chapter 9: From public-private partnership to infrastructure governance: meaningful change in narrative - or rhetorical sidestep?

Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve


This chapter explores if there has been a shift in the narrative from PPPs to infrastructure governance, and what consequences such a changed narrative might have for practice and research. Twenty years ago, Stephen Linder (1999) considered the ‘multiple meanings’ of PPPs and saw this as superseding earlier conceptions of privatization. Perhaps we are currently also in a time when another transition period is occurring and where a broader term is about to supersede PPP? The chapter explores the concepts of ‘governance’ and ‘infrastructure’ and then ‘infrastructure governance (IFG)’, and points to four meanings of infrastructure governance. We suggest that IFG can be interpreted as: a more decentred approach; as a different way to approach the reform and change agenda; as underlining the hybrid nature of the field of infrastructure; and as focusing on the need for an interdisciplinary approach. It is concluded finally that the phrase ‘infrastructure governance’ will no doubt continue to have both a strong linguistic function as well as a potentially useful structural function when it is applied to the world of PPPs.

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