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Contractual flexibility or rigidity for public private partnerships? Theory and evidence from infrastructure concession contracts

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  • Athias, Laure
  • Saussier, Stéphane

Abstract

In this article, we explore the contractual design of toll infrastructure concession contracts. We highlight the fact that the contracting parties try to sign not only complete rigid contracts in order to avoid renegotiations but also flexible contracts in order to adapt contractual framework to unanticipated contingencies and to create incentives for cooperative behavior. This gives rise to multiple toll adjustment provisions and to a tradeoff between rigid and flexible contracts. Such tradeoff is formalized with an incomplete contract framework, including ex post maladaptation and renegotiation costs. Our model highlights the fact that trade-offs are complex and do not correspond to previous propositions coming from a transaction cost framework. More precisely, those previous works argue that a rigid contract is to be preferred as soon as specific assets are high. We highlight the fact that this proposition may be true, but only if other conditions concerning maladaptation costs, renegotiation costs and the probability to see the contract enforced are met. Furthermore, our results stress the fact that the institutional environment in which the contract is embedded matters. Propositions are tested using an original database of 71 concession contracts. Our results suggest an important role for economic efficiency concerns, as well as politics, in designing toll road concession contracts. In this perspective, our work complements other empirical studies on contractual price provisions (Masten-Crocker 1991, Crocker-Reynolds 1993, Bajari-Tadelis 2001, Bajari & al 2006), by considering the case of public-private contracting, as well as other studies on public-private partnerships, by focusing on toll adjustment provisions and documenting the effect of reputation and political ideology.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 10541.

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Date of creation: 13 May 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10541

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Related research

Keywords: Contractual design; Incomplete contract theory; Transaction cost theory; price provisions; Public private partnerships;

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References

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  1. John Bennett & Elisabetta Iossa, 2004. "Contracting Out Public Service Provision to Non-for-profit Firms," Economics and Finance Discussion Papers 04-12, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  2. Crocker, K.J. & Masten, S.E., 1988. "Pretia Ex Machina?: Prices And Process In Long-Term Contracts," Papers 10-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  3. Steven Tadelis, 2009. "Auctions Versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 372-399, October.
  4. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
  5. Schmidt, Klaus M, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Privatization: An Incomplete Contracts Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, April.
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  7. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2006. "Renegotiation Without Holdup: Anticipating Spending and Infrastructure Concessions," NBER Working Papers 12399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Reputation Effects And The Limits Of Contracting: A Study Of The Indian Software Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 989-1017, August.
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  12. Goldberg, Victor P & Erickson, John R, 1987. "Quantity and Price Adjustment in Long-term Contracts: A Case Study of Petroleum Coke," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 369-98, October.
  13. Jolls, Christine, 1997. "Contracts as Bilateral Commitments: A New Perspective on Contract Modification," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 203-37, January.
  14. Antonio Estache, 2006. "PPI Partnerships vs. PPI Divorces in LDCs," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 3-26, September.
  15. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 1997. "Highway Franchising: Pitfalls and Opportunities," Documentos de Trabajo 15, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  16. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  17. Nicola Doni, 2006. "The Importance Of Reputation In Awarding Public Contracts," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 77(4), pages 401-429, December.
  18. Laure Athias & Stéphane Saussier, 2007. "Un partenariat public-privé rigide ou flexible ?. Théorie et application aux concessions routières à péage," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 58(3), pages 565-576.
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  22. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2003. "Privatizing Highways in Latin America: Fixing What Went Wrong," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  23. J. Guasch & Jean-Jacques Laffont & Stéphane Straub, 2006. "Renegotiation of Concession Contracts: A Theoretical Approach," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 55-73, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Stéphane Saussier & Carine Staropoli & Anne Yvrande-Billon, 2009. "Public–Private Agreements, Institutions, and Competition: When Economic Theory Meets Facts," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 1-18, September.
  2. Tan, Zhijia & Yang, Hai, 2012. "Flexible build-operate-transfer contracts for road franchising under demand uncertainty," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1419-1439.

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