Resources on public-private partnerships

Bankwatch does not take responsibility for the content of external sources, nor should their inclusion here be taken as an endorsement of their content - they are simply resources which we believe have something to add to the debate.

(jump to: reports | books | other kinds of PPPs)

A Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute website that is tracking the wave of remunicipalisations in the water sector.
The European Investment Bank's European PPP Expertise Centre, aimed more at promoting PPPs but provides useful statistics and resources.
The European Federation of Public Service Unions offers analyses of PPP issues on the European level and includes a useful factsheet on PPPs (pdf)
George Monbiot was one of the first people to bring the wider issues around the Private Finance Initiative to the public in the UK.
Allyson Pollock is one of the UK's foremost PPP critics, focusing on health care policy.
The Public Services Research Unit International (PSIRU) researches the privatisation and restructuring of public services around the world, with special focus on water, energy, waste management and healthcare.
The UNISON UK public services trade union offers analysis of the UK Private Finance Initiative.
The Global Union Research Network (GURN) is a platform for trade unionists and researchers dealing with the challenges of globalization from a labour perspective. Their website includes an extensive section on PPPs. is a platform for discussions on alternatives to water privatisation and how to finance public water. Their website offers a selection of resources on water PPPs. (german)
Gemeingut in BürgerInnenhand (common goods in citizens' hands) is a German association fighting against privatisation of the commons of our society. In a dedicated PPP section on their website, GiB publishes statements, news and reports concerning (mostly, but not exclusively) German public-private partnerships.


Reports: general assessments/criticism of PPPs

Tim Jones, Jubilee Debt
The UK’s PPPs Disaster: Lessons on private finance for the rest of the world
February 2017

The Jubilee Debt Campaign (UK) has launched a new briefing on the failures of PPPs in the UK. The briefing is intended for an international audience to properly inform civil society and decision makers across the world about the true record of PPPs in the UK. PPPs in the UK have:
- Cost the government more than if it had funded the public infrastructure by borrowing money itself
- Led to large windfall gains for the private companies involved, at public expense
- Enabled tax avoidance through offshore ownership
- Led to declining service standards and staffing levels
- Hollowed out state capacity to design, build, finance and operate infrastructure
- Eroded democratic accountability

María José Romero, Eurodad
What lies beneath? A critical assessment of PPPs and their impact on sustainable development
July 2015

This report looks at the empirical and theoretical evidence available on the nature and impact of PPPs, and analyses the experiences of Tanzania and Peru, in country case studies carried out by Afrodad and Latindadd, respectively. It critically assesses whether PPPs deliver on the promises of their proponents and gives concrete recommendations for policymakers.

Read also: A Eurodad blog post with findings and examples from the report >>

Tim Jones, Jubilee Debt Campaign
The new debt trap. How the response to the last global financial crisis has laid the ground for the next
July 2015

The report finds that the level of debts owed between countries has risen from $11.3 trillion in 2011 to $13.8 trillion in 2014, and predicts that in 2015 they will increase further to $14.7 trillion. The report includes a chapter on PPPs: "Hidden debts: Public-Private Partnerships".

Nick Hildyard, Corner House
Public-Private Partnerships, Financial Extraction and the Growing Wealth Gap: Exploring the connections (pdf)
Presentation at Manchester Business School, Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, July 2014

This presentation looks at Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure through the lens of inequality, as wealth becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and as the gap between rich and poor widens globally, regionally and within countries.

Dexter Whitfield
The £10bn Sale of Share in PPP Companies - New source of profits for builders and banks (pdf)
European Services Strategy Unit, January 2011

This Research Report is part of a wider study of the sale of Public Private Partnership (PPP) equity and the growth of a secondary market focused in the UK, but also including other EU countries, US, Canada, Latin America, Australia and other countries with significant numbers of PPP projects. It follows on from Professor Whitfield's book, Global Auction of Public Assets: Public sector alternatives to the infrastructure market and Public Private Partnerships (see below).

Policy and Operations Evaluation Department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Public-Private Partnerships in developing countries - A systematic literature review (pdf)
April 2013

Based on a systematic review of professional literature and evaluation reports regarding the performance of PPPs this study concludes (among others) that PPP evaluations focus on resource sharing but pay little attention to the risk-sharing and revenue distribution dimension of partnerships. Moreover, it notes that the empirical evidence on the effectiveness and efficiency of PPP’s is notably scarce and that a large majority of evaluations are not based on robust impact analyses.

Reports on specific PPP topics

Juraj Melichar, Roman Havlicek, Xavier Sol
The Bratislava bypass - a public-private partnership to get around traffic problems and debt statistics (pdf)
Bankwatch / Counter Balance
19 December 2016

Steven Shrybman and Scott Sinclair
A Standard Contract for PPPs the World Over: Recommended PPP Contractual Provisions Submitted to the G20 (pdf)
Heinrich-Boell Foundation
11 April 2016

UK House of Commons Public Accounts Committee
Eighty-First Report: Equity Investment in privately financed projects
18 April 2012

Manthan India
Database of Failed Privatisation Projects in Water Supply and Sanitation (pdf)
September 2011

UK House of Commons Treasury Select Committee
Seventeenth Report: Private Finance Initiative
18 July 2011

UK National Audit Office
Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General: Procurement of the M25 private finance contract
19 November 2010

Robert Bain
Review of lessons from completed EIB projects financed by the EIB (pdf)
April 2009

Katharina Gassner, Alexander Popov and Nataliya Pushak
Does Private Sector Participation Improve Performance in Electricity and Water Distribution? (pdf)
World Bank / PPFIAF

Gayle Allard and Amanda Trabant, Instituto de Empresa, Spain:
Public-Private Partnerships In Spain: Lessons And Opportunities (pdf)
International Business & Economics Research Journal
February 2008, Volume 7, Number 2

UK House of Commons Transport Committee:
The London Underground and the Public–Private Partnership Agreements Second Report of Session 2007–08 (pdf)
16 January 2008 (An update from March 2010 is available here.)

Andreas Brenck, Thorsten Beckers, Maria Heinrich, and Christian von Hirschhausen
Public-private partnerships in new EU member countries of Central and Eastern Europe (pdf)
EIB Papers, Volume 10, No. 2, 2005

Armin Riess et al
Innovative financing of infrastructure – the role of public-private partnerships: Lessons from the early movers (pdf)
EIB Papers Volume 10 No 2, 2005

Campbell Thomson, Judith Goodwin
Evaluation of PPP projects financed by the EIB (pdf)
European Investment Bank
March 2005

UK National Audit Office
The Operational Performance of PFI Prisons
18 June 2003


George Monbiot
Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain
Pan Books, October 2003

    - a little out of date now but gives a highly readable account of some of the UK's most shocking PPPs. More up to date commentaries on PPPs can be found at

Dexter Whitfield
Global Auction of Public Assets: Public sector alternatives to the infrastructure market and Public Private Partnerships
Spokesman books, 2010

This is the first critical analysis which explores PPP programmes in the UK, France, Ireland, Germany, the US, Canada, Russia, Australia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa

Christian Wolmar
Down The Tube, The Battle for London’s Underground

Aurum Press, November 2002

    - an in-depth critique of the London Underground PPP which correctly foresaw its demise. Several updates since the book have appeared are available on Christian's website

Resources on PPPs in sectors other than public services

The term 'public-private partnership' is being used for a huge variety of business arrangements these days. Some of them are just as problematic as the public services PPPs described on this website, even if rather different. Here are relevant resources.

Moral Hazard? 'Mega' public-private partnerships in African agriculture (pdf)
September 2014
(Read a short summary here.)