Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnerships: Towards a More Decentralised Policy
Public-private partnerships are a recent instrument for social and economic development policies. A more decentralised policy is supposed to increase focus and effectiveness and to involve agencies that are closer to firms and that have a more narrow range of objectives. In this contribution, we analyse the pattern of the so-called PIP (Partnerships and Public Initiatives) projects, approved between 2000 and the 30th June of 2003 in the framework of the Portuguese Operational Program for the Economy. By using HOMALS and K-means cluster analysis, we were able to characterise the decentralisation pattern and to identify typical clusters for the PIP projects. The results show clearly that a greater decentralisation is linked to partnerships while public initiatives are closer to the conventional pattern of public intervention. The results also show that partnerships are mainly focused in specific sectors and / or in specific regions, being conducted by private agencies that have chiefly a sectoral or regional nature. However, we have observed a trade-off between policy decentralization and structural change goals because decentralization has originated a bias towards the present more representative sectors. Also, decentralization has generated an extremely unequal access of local economies to the PIP instrument, favoring the more developed areas of the country.
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