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Edited by Nikolaos Karagiannis and John E. King

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Wil Hout and M. A.M. Salih

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Attila Ágh

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Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve

Much attention has gone towards ‘up-front’ processes when delivering infrastructure public–private partnerships (PPPs), but less on how to best govern after the ribbon is cut and the infrastructure built. This chapter identifies the primary contractual and institutional governance challenges arising in the medium to long term of PPP concession contracts and explores these governance challenges through interviews with high-level PPP industry insiders. The chapter presents new findings from Australia on the importance of good public administration for successful PPP operation, and on the interesting evolution of medium- to long-term governance arrangements. It finds that although industry interviewees agreed PPP governance had improved significantly, they had differing views on how capable Australian states were and how well this task was being undertaken. The up-front contract was judged as dominating long-term governance arrangements, with the biggest ongoing challenge for PPPs seen as the need greater transparency in order to improve PPP legitimacy in the eyes of citizens. The professionals themselves were indeed split on the current adequacy of PPP transparency. No single institutional model for governing long term contracts was found, indicating a wide variety of feasible options for policy makers.

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Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve

Public-private partnership (PPP) is now a staple in public policy making and a well-known institution for designing, financing, building, operating and maintaining large infrastructure projects internationally. In this book we have focused on a number of recent issues and debates that have surrounded the theme of PPP. This concluding chapter reviews the main arguments of the book before proceeding to discuss and synthesize some of the most prevalent issues affecting public-private partnerships (PPPs) today. These issues include the timing of the economic rationale compared to the political need for PPPs, and the question of whether PPPs have come full circle. Finally, we look at the future of PPP and note its evolution from a focus on the effective delivery of individual projects to (inter)national infrastructure plans competing with each other for political and economic dominance.

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Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve

This chapter reviews the research pedigree on public–private partnerships (PPPs) from Broadbent and Laughlin’s seminal piece in 1999. The PPP phenomenon is viewed at five levels: project delivery, organizational form, policy, governance tool and as a phenomenon within a broader historical and cultural context. It is argued in this chapter that whilst a variety of research issues will continue to be relevant, five corresponding areas deserve future visibility for a renewed research agenda: (1) financialization of PPPs, (2) global PPP market actors, (3) internationalization of policy on PPPs, (4) long-term complex contracts as a governing regime and (5) PPPs in BRIC and developing countries. We have moved from a focus on PPP purely as projects to a focus on PPP as a phenomenon. We have also moved from a national to a more comparative studies focus; from attention on the formal and the technical, to more socio-political and informal concerns; from a few disciplinary lenses to many; and from regarding PPP as ‘the next big thing’ to seeing it as a series of ongoing experiments. PPP is now a highly internationalized and longer-term collaborative ideal. The merit and worth of PPP nonetheless remains a fundamental recurring theme within the relationship between governments and business.

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Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve

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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Trent J. MacDonald

Much has been said about the vices and virtues of democracy. Democracy, said Benjamin Franklin, is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Lord Acton warned that democracy is susceptible to a ‘tyranny of the majority’. Winston Churchill told us that democracy is actually the worst form of government . . . except for every other form that has been tried. Not without irony, he also said that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. H. L. Mencken described democracy as the theory that people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. These quotes speak to the majoritarian dimension of democracy and the reality that even in the best-of-functioning systems 49 per cent of the people can remain unhappy. To be sure, in most modern democracies even a less-than-majority popular vote can carry an election, due to the peculiarities of electoral systems.5 Democracy, in other words, is a system to ensure that some people get what they want; it is not a system to allow everyone to do so.

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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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Trent J. MacDonald

The non-territorial governance concept resembles closely the political philosophy of panarchism—a specific form of governance (i.e. ‘-archy’) that encompasses all others (i.e. ‘pan-’). The central idea is that individuals should have maximum freedom to join and leave the jurisdiction of any government they choose, without having to change their current location. The classical foundations of panarchism were laid more than a century and a half ago, but underwent a long dormant period until something of a contemporary revival of panarchist political theory and philosophy in the late twentieth century and today (Tucker & de Bellis 2015): Panarchy (pan-archy: many chiefs; multi-government) is a system of competing, co-existing governments which conduct their operations within the same geographical territories without making any claims to those territories, and whose only powers derive from the consent of those they govern, i.e., those who voluntarily agree to submit to a particular government. These voluntary governments are constituted and operate on the basis of contractual personal law rather than the coercive territorial law of the Nation-State. (Taylor 1989)