Public-Private Partnerships are a form of public procurement. The choice to use such contracts is first and foremost made by the public sector which remains the ultimate guarantor of public service delivery. This choice is underpinned by a number of theoretical mechanisms and premises about the behaviour of firms, banks and the public sector. Economics offers useful theoretical frameworks to think about PPPs in constructive and innovative way once the mechanisms at play have been understood. A theoretical understanding of PPPs helps practitioners from both the public and private sector to see through the forest of acronyms and complex contractual practices that surround the basic principles at play. Understanding the theory can help determine whether one is looking at a PPP or at something else, tell and explain the difference between public-private contracting and privatization, know what to expect from the different parties to a contract given the incentive framework is creates.
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