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Towards a New Model of PPPs: Can Public Private Partnerships Deliver Basic Services to the Poor?


  • Miguel Pérez-Ludeña



Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are often advocated as an effective mechanism for delivering water and sanitation services. At the same time it is argued that in developing countries the private sector lacks the incentives to extend services to the poor and that PPPs may only be able to improve services for the better-off. This paper briefly analyses the difficulties of reaching the poor through PPPs and tries to define a model of PPPs that are specifically designed to serve the poor. Based on a series of case studies documented by ESCAP, it observed that these types of PPPs often incorporate some of the strategies and methods of the informal sector, and include community organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) among their partners. Governments should adapt regulations to accommodate these arrangements and encourage the participation of private companies, NGOs and community organizations. The analysis concentrates on the water sector but its implications can be applied to the delivery of other basic services as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel Pérez-Ludeña, 2009. "Towards a New Model of PPPs: Can Public Private Partnerships Deliver Basic Services to the Poor?," MPDD Working Paper Series WP/09/01, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
  • Handle: RePEc:unt:wpmpdd:wp/09/01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
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    More about this item


    Public-private partnerships; water; poverty; urban; informal sector; Asia;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures


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