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Soft budgets and Renegotiations in Public-Private Partnerships

  • Eduardo Engel
  • Ronald Fischer
  • Alexander Galetovic

    ()

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly used to provide infrastructure services. Even though PPPs have the potential to increase efficiency and improve resource allocation, contract renegotiations have been pervasive. We show that existing accounting standards allow governments to renegotiate PPP contracts and elude spending limits. Our model of renegotiations leads to observable predictions: (i) in a competitive market, firms lowball their offers, expecting to break even through renegotiation, (ii) renegotiations compensate lowballing and pay for additional expenditure, (iii) governments use renegotiation to increase spending and shift the burden of payments to future administrations, and (iv) there are significant renegotiations in the early stages of the contract, e.g. during construction. We use data on Chilean renegotiations of PPP contracts to examine these predictions and find that the evidence is consistent with the predictions of our model. Finally, we show that if PPP investments are counted as current government spending, the incentives to renegotiate contracts to increase spending disappear. JEL classification: H21, L51, L91.

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File URL: http://www.dii.uchile.cl/~cea/sitedev/cea/www/download.php?file=documentos_trabajo/ASOCFILE120090925145345.pdf
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Paper provided by Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 265.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:edj:ceauch:265
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dii.uchile.cl/cea/

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  1. J. Luis Guasch & Jean-Jacques Laffont & Stéphane Straub, 2007. "Concessions of infrastructure in Latin America: Government-led renegotiation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(7), pages 1267-1294.
  2. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Public-private Partnerships and Government Spending Limits," Economics Working Papers 0075, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  3. Martimort, David & Pouyet, Jerome, 2008. "To build or not to build: Normative and positive theories of public-private partnerships," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 393-411, March.
  4. John Bennett & Elisabetta Iossa, 2002. "Building and Managing Facilities for Public Services," Economics and Finance Discussion Papers 02-08, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  5. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2013. "The Basic Public Finance Of Public–Private Partnerships," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 83-111, 02.
  6. Hillman, Arye L, 1982. "Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1180-87, December.
  7. J. Kornai & E. Maskin & G. Roland., 2004. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 12.
  8. Olivier Cadot & Lars-Hendrik Röller & Andreas Stephan, 2002. "Contribution to Productivity or Pork Barrel? The Two Faces of Infrastructure Investment," CIG Working Papers FS IV 02-09, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  9. J. Luis Guasch & Jean-Jacques Laffont & Stephane Straub, 2003. "Renegotiation of Concession Contracts in Latin America," ESE Discussion Papers 103, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  10. 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.
  11. Blanc-Brude, Frederic & Goldsmith, Hugh & Valila, Timo, 2007. "Public-Private Partnerships In Europe: An Update," Economic and Financial Reports 2007/3, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
  12. J. Luis Guasch & Stéphane Straub, 2006. "Renegotiation Of Infrastructure Concessions: An Overview," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 77(4), pages 479-493, December.
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