Questioning the need for full amortization in PPP contracts for transport Infrastructure
PPP contracts most often have durations of between 20 and 35 years, but in some cases even longer. The main reason for this is the wish of the Public side to minimize its financial contribution, by including in the contract many years of revenue generation by the project to help cover the investment contribution of the private partner. Implicit however is the need to fully amortize the initial investment, which in many countries is even included in the relevant legislation. PPP contracts are normally framed around the delivery of a range of services during the lifetime of the contract, those services requiring the initial construction or recovery of an expensive infrastructure. The specification of the financial clauses of the contract requires the estimation of demand for those services over the period of the contract and this is usually taken as the major incidence of uncertainty in the contract. Indeed, experience shows that demand forecasts often fail substantially, in many cases by more than 20%, mostly by excess, as State side project promoters (and the bidding private partners) tend to be excessively optimistic about the development of such demand. But when we consider the nature of these contracts we should recognize the existence of at least two other very important types of uncertainty: first, the socially desirable scope and specification of the services to be offered as technology and social preferences evolve; and second, the policy guidelines relative to the total quantity and the social distribution of those services, as that quantity may be causing congestion in other parts of the system, or it may become important to (positively or negatively) discriminate some user segments. In both cases, it is almost impossible to foresee at the time of writing the initial contract if, when and in what direction such types of socially beneficial changes in the provision of the services would intervene, but this rigidness may bear a great loss of social welfare in relation to a more adjustable framework. This criticism affects not only PPPs but all kinds of concession contracts with long duration, so it is not the "partnership" element that must be questioned but rather the duration of the contract. An alternative way is relatively straightforward: abandon the assumption that these contracts must provide full amortization of the infrastructure, which allows adoption of contracts with a shorter life, and the use of multiple such contracts over the lifecycle of the infrastructure. The first generation contract would still have to face the full cost of the construction, but the private partner would receive the unamortized part at the end of that contract, to be paid by the State, directly from the public budget if no more private participation is wanted, or indirectly through the acquisition fee for the contract to be paid by the partner to the second life segment. But, crucially, the State recovers the right to re-specify the terms of the service to be provided without the need for any indemnity, and also the uncertainty associated with the evolution of demand in that period will be much smaller, as this will be my then a mature system in operation. This may seem to increase the transaction costs for the State as more contracts (although of a similar type, especially from the second onwards) may have to be negotiated and signed. But if we take into consideration the difficulties of the frequently needed renegotiations of long duration contracts and the conditions of asymmetry of information in which the State normally finds itself in such cases, we will conclude that, besides avoiding the loss of welfare due to the poor fit of the contract after 20 years or so, this solution after all may also reduce the transaction costs associated with negotiations over the duration of the traditional contracts.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 30 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/620614/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Albalate, Daniel & Bel, Germà, 2009.
"Regulating concessions of toll motorways: An empirical study on fixed vs. variable term contracts,"
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice,
Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 219-229, February.
- Daniel Albalate & Germa Bel, 2007. "Regulating Concessions of Toll Motorways, An Empirical Study on Fixed vs. Variable Term Contracts," IREA Working Papers 200706, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Mar 2007.
- José M. Vassallo, 2006. "Traffic Risk Mitigation in Highway Concession Projects: The Experience of Chile," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 40(3), pages 359-381, September.
- Guasch, J. Luis & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Straub, Stéphane, 2008. "Renegotiation of concession contracts in Latin America: Evidence from the water and transport sectors," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 421-442, March.
- Trujillo, Lourdes & Quinet, Emile & Estache, Antonio, 2002.
"Dealing with demand forecasting games in transport privatization,"
Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 325-334, October.
- Antonio Estache & Lourdes Trujillo & E. Quinet, 2002. "Dealing with Demand Forecasting Games in Transport Privatization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/43981, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Engel, Eduardo & Fischer, Ronald & Galetovic, Alexander, 1997.
"Highway Franchising: Pitfalls and Opportunities,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 68-72, May.
- Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2006.
"Privatizing Highways in the United States,"
Review of Industrial Organization,
Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 29(1), pages 27-53, September.
- Stéphane Saussier & Carine Staropoli & Anne Yvrande-Billon, 2009.
"Public Private Agreements, Institutions and Competition : when Economic Theory meets Facts,"
Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers)
- Stéphane Saussier & Carine Staropoli & Anne Yvrande-Billon, 2009. "Public–Private Agreements, Institutions, and Competition: When Economic Theory Meets Facts," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 35(1), pages 1-18, September.
- Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & Ronald D. Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2001.
"Least-Present-Value-of-Revenue Auctions and Highway Franchising,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 993-1020, October.
- Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 1998. "Least-Present-Value-of-Revenue Auctions and Highway Franchising," Documentos de Trabajo 37, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
- Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & Ronald D. Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 1998. "Least-Present-Value-of-Revenue Auctions and Highway Franchising," NBER Working Papers 6689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:retrec:v:30:y:2010:i:1:p:139-144. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.