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A ‘New Governance’ Approach to Public-Private Partnerships: Lessons for the Public Sector

TitleA ‘New Governance’ Approach to Public-Private Partnerships: Lessons for the Public Sector
Publication TypeWorking Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsCasady, CB, Eriksson, K, Levitt, RE, W. Scott, R
KeywordsWorking Paper

The use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to deliver public infrastructure services to citizens via private sector concessionaires has increased globally since the 1990s. While the advantages and disadvantages of PPPs have been widely discussed, their advantages remain subject to considerable debate. However, overarching public sector governance of PPP delivery—including legislative budgeting for infrastructure, project prioritization within the infrastructure budget category, and project procurement, operation and maintenance—is currently understudied. In order to develop a more thorough understanding of the public sector governance challenges associated with PPP arrangements, this paper applies a ‘New Governance’ framework and an institutional theory perspective to the study of PPPs. Drawing upon various disciplinary perspectives, including public policy, public administration, organizational theory, and project management, this review identifies that effective and efficient delivery of PPPs depends on the maturity of institutions, representing legal, normative and cultural-cognitive rules and processes in society. Several early adopters of PPP delivery, including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, have developed mature PPP markets. The United States lags far behind these jurisdictions in the number and timing of PPP projects delivered. The future expansion of PPPs in the US thus requires enhanced institutional development, characterized by elaborate and standardized judicial and normative rules and procedures which govern the interaction between public and private actors. The use of PPPs in infrastructure delivery will be more prevalent if public sector governance accelerates institutional maturity in the field.

Keywords:  Governance; institutional theory; institutional maturity; PPP; P3; public administration, new governance; new public management; public-private partnerships, project management; procurement 

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