International Handbook on Public–Private Partnerships
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International Handbook on Public–Private Partnerships

Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Carsten Greve and Anthony E. Boardman

In this timely Handbook, leading scholars from around the world explore the challenges presented by infrastructure PPPs, and contemplate what lies ahead as governments balance the need to provide innovative new infrastructure against the requirement for good public governance. This Handbook builds on a range of exciting theoretical lenses that span several disciplinary boundaries. It presents innovative insights and informed perspectives from an international base of empirical evidence.
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Chapter 4: Public–Private Partnerships: Deciphering Meaning, Message and Phenomenon

Erik-Hans Klijn


Erik-Hans Klijn Introduction: deciphering public–private partnerships There is no doubt that public–private partnerships (PPPs) have been a dominant issue in governmental rhetoric but also in governmental practice. In many countries, governments have turned to the idea of PPPs, or partnerships in general, as a vehicle to realize better policy outcomes, or to enhance investments in fields like infrastructure, health or even social policy. However, at the same time the idea of PPPs has been a contested concept (see Hodge and Greve, 2005; Weihe, 2008). Even if we roughly define a PPP as a ‘more or less sustainable cooperation between public and private actors in which joint products and/or services are developed and in which risks, costs and profits are shared’ (Klijn and Teisman, 2003, p. 137), we can still find many different forms under this heading. PPPs have been given many meanings, been used in a number of ways and seen in many manifestations. Now this is all very normal for many ideas and terms used both in the world of practice and in the world of science, but in this case there seems to be more confusion than usual. In general we can find confusion in at least three areas, which are also connected: ● ● ● confusion about the meaning of PPPs: not only do we find many different definitions, but also many different appraisals and emotions; confusion about the argumentations and rationality of PPPs: there is much discussion on what precisely PPPs should or could achieve (better value...

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