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Understanding pitfalls in the application of PPPs in transport infrastructure in Portugal


  • Macário, Rosário
  • Ribeiro, Joana
  • Costa, Joana Duarte


Over the last few decades, public–private partnerships (PPPs) have been increasingly used by governments to finance and manage complex operations in public investment, especially in the provision of transport infrastructure. Portugal has been in the forefront of the most active European countries in the market of PPPs, having adopted a specific legal framework and involving a large number of institutions in its PPP process. PPPs have had high costs for the State, with transparency issues leading to difficulties assessing performance and accountability. This paper attempts to relate those pitfalls of the Portuguese experience with PPPs with the regulatory framework that was adopted and changed along the decades, at the light of theory of regulation. It is a first step in further exploring the relationships between regulatory aspects and PPP performance in the Portuguese case. Several lessons can be learned from Portuguese experience to enhance the processes of successful implementation of PPPs. The paper addresses these elements and provides evidences on pitfalls that should be avoided.

Suggested Citation

  • Macário, Rosário & Ribeiro, Joana & Costa, Joana Duarte, 2015. "Understanding pitfalls in the application of PPPs in transport infrastructure in Portugal," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 90-99.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:41:y:2015:i:c:p:90-99
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2015.03.013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tonci Bakovic & Bernard Tenenbaum & Fiona Woolf, 2003. "Regulation by Contract : A New Way to Privatize Electricity Distribution?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15078.
    2. Trujillo, Lourdes & Quinet, Emile & Estache, Antonio, 2002. "Dealing with demand forecasting games in transport privatization," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 325-334, October.
    3. Miranda Sarmento, J. & Renneboog, L.D.R., 2014. "The Portuguese Experience with Public-Private Partnerships," Discussion Paper 2014-005, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. María de los Ángeles Baeza & José Manuel Vassallo, 2010. "Private concession contracts for toll roads in Spain: analysis and recommendations," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(5), pages 299-304, September.
    5. Bruzelius, Nils & Flyvbjerg, Bent & Rothengatter, Werner, 2002. "Big decisions, big risks. Improving accountability in mega projects," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 143-154, April.
    6. Bert van Wee, 2007. "Large infrastructure projects: a review of the quality of demand forecasts and cost estimations," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(4), pages 611-625, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:cjrecs:v:12:y:2019:i:1:p:17-44. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Miranda Sarmento, J. & Renneboog, L.D.R., 2014. "Anatomy of Public-Private Partnerships : Their Creation, Financing, and Renegotiations," Discussion Paper 2014-017, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. Oliveira, Matheus & Ribeiro, Joana & Macário, Rosário, 2016. "Are we planning investments to fail? Consequences of traffic forecast effects on PPP contracts: Portuguese and Brazilian cases," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 167-174.
    4. Daniel, Albalate & Germà, Bel & Albert, Gragera, 2019. "Politics, risk, and white elephants in infrastructure PPPs," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 158-165.
    5. repec:eso:journl:v:49:y:2018:i:2:p:217-239 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Martin Melecky & Mark Roberts & Siddharth Sharma, 2019. "The wider economic benefits of transport corridors: a policy framework and illustrative application to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 12(1), pages 17-44.


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