NIGArchivesAnnual Workconference 2014Panel overviewPanel 14: Public-Private Partnerships: New Governance Arrangements

Public-Private Partnership: New Governance Arrangements

Panel 14: Public-Private Partnerships: New Governance Arrangements

Chaired by: Stefan Verweij, MSc (EUR), Anne-Marie Reynaers, MSc (VU), prof.dr. Erik-Hans Klijn (EUR) , ,

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are popular governance arrangements because they are considered to be efficient and effective ways for realizing public-based infrastructure. Many definitions and types of PPPs exist (Klijn 2010; Weihe 2008), but a general working definition is: an enduring contractual relationship between two or more partners of which at least one is a public body, in which both public and private partners bring some kind of resources to the partnership and in which responsibilities and risks are shared, for the purpose of delivering public infrastructure-based products and/or services (Grimsey & Lewis 2004). PPP projects can be organized in innovative contracts (e.g. Design, Build, Finance, Maintain and Operating contracts), or in loosely/tightly coupled partnerships (e.g. Urban Renewal Companies). The arrangement does not only affect its constitutive partners. For instance, the construction and the tendering of the 30-year maintenance of a highway by a private consortium also affect local stakeholders. PPP projects often emerge and have to be implemented in a wider network of actors. The present panel focusses both on the relationships and processes between the partner organizations as well as the relationships and processes that take place in the wider network in which it is embedded.

Despite their growing popularity, scholars have warned us that actually not that much is known about the effects of PPPs. For instance, Hodge and Greve (2007) showed that the performance of PPPs is mixed at best; Kort and Klijn (2011) show that there is no correlation between the co-operation form and performance; Reynaers’ (2014) research warns us that there are other values at stake as well, which are sometimes suppressed by the dominance of performance-based assessment of PPPs; and Jones and Noble (2008) and Mistarihi et al. (2013) point to the fact that we actually now very little about what happens in PPP implementation. Hence, “despite their continuing popularity with governments, greater care is needed to strengthen future evaluations and conduct such assessments away from the policy cheerleaders” (Hodge & Greve, 2007, 545). This panel welcomes (critical) papers that deal with questions of the effectiveness of PPPs, the complex decision-making and management processes involved in them, and/or the accountability problems that emerge when PPP projects are initiated.

Linkage NIG Subtheme

This panel is directly linked to two of the overarching NIG subthemes, namely Public Management and Multi-Actor Governance In Complexity. PPPs can be considered governance arrangements that incorporate private sector involvement and management techniques such as performance-related pay and performance monitoring. Therewith, they ought to enable public actors to provide public services more efficiently and effectively. PPPs are an embodiment of public management. PPPs are also embodiments of multi-actor governance. As said, they do not only involve multiple public actors (often both national, local and/or regional governments are involved) and private actors, Often, many different other actors are involved such as banks, external advisors, various citizens groups, and environmental and economic interest groups. Thus, PPP projects are interesting and exiting vehicles to study different themes that are connected to multi-actor governance.

Type Of Papers

We especially encourage paper submissions that incorporate empirical work. This panel invites papers including but not limited to the following topics:

  1. Accountability in PPPs: How is accountability achieved in PPP projects (both within the arrangement as towards external stakeholders); to what extent are private and public actors able to account for their actions within and outside partnership?
  2. PPPs and the political context: How is the initiation and implementation of PPP projects connected to ‘regular’ political processes?
  3. Implementation of DBFM(O) projects: What are the results of DBFM(O) projects; how are they implemented and what difficulties arise (in particular the tension between rigid contracts and the need for flexibility in implementation to adapt to new developments)?
  4. Multi-actor complexity: How do actors in a PPP cooperate; what are the necessary conditions for good cooperation (e.g. trust).