Implementing Public-Private Partnerships: How Management Responses To Events Produce (Un)Satisfactory Outcomes

PWMP Front 2Most research on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure development focuses on phases prior to construction. The implementation phase itself has received less attention. However, sound public-private agreements and project preparations can fail during project implementation because of, for example, unforeseen events and ineffective responses to them. We conducted case studies on two infrastructure projects to examine which management responses to events during implementation produce (un)satisfactory outcomes. We found that externally oriented responses or a cooperative stance between the public and private partners produce satisfactory outcomes in responding to events. In practice, however, management responses are often internally oriented and non-cooperative, resulting in unsatisfactory outcomes. We identified three explanations for this, related to time pressure in implementation, the organization of the involvement of external stakeholders, and project culture in the PPP. The article concludes with implications for management and policy of infrastructure PPPs.

Publication | Verweij, S., Teisman, G.R. & Gerrits, L.M. (2017). Implementing public-private partnerships: How management responses to events produce (un)satisfactory outcomes. Public Works Management & Policy, 22 (2), 119-139.

When Governance Networks Become The Agenda


klijn-koppenjan-frontThe study of governance networks has taken such a flight that it has become increasingly hard to think of issues in public administration or public policy outside of the idiom and concepts of governance theories. Or, to put it differently, governance networks have moved from a niche within our domain to become mainstream or common knowledge. Erik-Hans Klijn and Joop Koppenjan have played an important role in popularizing the central concepts of governance networks. In our review of their latest book, we argue that Klijn and Koppenjan have delivered a conceptually rich textbook on governance networks, and that there can be no doubt that many students will find it immensely useful when studying the big theme that is governance. In fact, in their book, governance networks have become the agenda, and network governance is not only something one can observe, it is also considered something worth aiming for. If that is the case, we still need to make big steps in further testing and critically researching the main ideas and assumptions using novel and more sophisticated methods. That also needs to be part of the agenda, next to the normative stance that governance is good.

Publication | Gerrits, L.M. & Verweij, S. (2017). When governance networks become the agenda. Public Administration Review, 77 (1), 144-146.

Addressing The Evaluation-Implementation Gap In Infrastructure Megaproject Research With Qualitative Comparative Analysis

routledge-frontIn this book chapter, I argue that there is a gap between the evaluation and implementation of mega projects, and I advocate Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as a remedy notably in transport infrastructure research and evaluation. Mega project evaluation tends to focus excessively on the planning stage, overlooking the complexities involved in the implementation of mega projects. The open-system nature of these projects means that the project outcomes and their causes cannot be predicted and identified unambiguously, which in turn makes it difficult to evaluate the implementation processes. Large infrastructure projects face uncertainty and ambiguity, but their evaluations are often informed by a linear-rationalist, objectivist worldview, which compromises the capacity of evaluation to promote learning. I advocate QCA as a complexity-informed evaluation approach, able to account for key phenomena associated with mega projects, notably their non-decomposability, contingency, non-compressibility and time-asymmetry. Illustrating the arguments by drawing on the Dutch € 2 billion transportation infrastructure project A15 Maasvlakte-Vaanplein, the chapter concludes by discussing the applicability of QCA for mega project research and evaluation.

Publication | Verweij, S. (2017). Addressing the evaluation-implementation gap in infrastructure megaproject research with qualitative comparative analysis. In: M. Lehtonen, P.B. Joly & L. Aparicio (eds), Socioeconomic Evaluation of Megaprojects: Dealing with Uncertainties (pp. 220-239). Abingdon: Routledge.

Two Effective Causal Paths That Explain The Adoption Of US State Environmental Justice Policy

PS Front

Over two decades have passed since the federal policy on environmental justice (EO 12898) was issued. However, empirical evidence indicates that injustice persists and that US states vary in their adoption of the terms of the environmental justice (EJ) policy. Moreover, studies of the explanations for the variation in states’ adoption of EJ policy are rare and have yielded puzzling findings – e.g., environmental interest groups are not associated with states’ EJ policy adoption, or the severity of problems is associated inversely with their adoption. We examined the progress and variation in states’ EJ policy adoption as of 2005 using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. Our analysis showed first that a strong environmental interest group presence, combined with high racial diversity and low problem severity, is sufficient for a high level of EJ policy adoption, especially in Western states. Second, when environmental interest group presence is weak, if it is combined, again, with high racial diversity and the presence of a more liberal state government, a high level of EJ policy adoption also occurs. This is observed in the East coast, Midwestern, and Southern regions of the USA. Environmental politics and policy research can benefit from a configurational approach, especially when there is no guiding theory on the conjunctional effects of key factors.

Publication | Kim, Y. & Verweij, S. (2016). Two effective causal paths that explain the adoption of US state environmental policy adoption. Policy Sciences, 49 (4), 505-523.

Governing Environmental Conflicts In China: Under What Conditions Do Local Governments Compromise?

pa-front-2In recent years, governing environmental conflicts concerning the planning, construction, and operation of urban facilities has increasingly become a challenge for Chinese local governments. Chinese governments seek adequate responses to deal with these conflicts, for instance by ignoring criticism and sticking to initial decisions, by suppressing protests, or by compromising. In this article, by analyzing 10 cases of conflict in China using crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis (csQCA), we aim to investigate which combinations of diverse conditions lead to changes in local governments’ decisions. Four contextualized paths to explain both the presence and the absence of these changes are identified. These findings increase our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the governance of environmental conflicts in China and may inform Chinese governments and non-state actors who are seeking ways to deal adequately with them.

Publication | Li, Y., Koppenjan, J.F.M. & Verweij, S. (2016). Governing environmental conflicts in China: Under what conditions do local governments compromise? Public Administration, 94 (3), 806-822.

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