Infrastructure publicâ€“private partnerships as drivers of innovation? Lessons from Ontario, Canada
Michael Himmel and
Environment and Planning C, 2017, vol. 35, issue 5, 746-764
Publicâ€“private partnerships have been widely identified as key drivers of innovation in large public infrastructure projects such as hospitals, courthouses, bridges, highways, and transit lines. Yet to date, there is little empirical evidence documenting how much or what types of innovation are realized through the publicâ€“private partnership procurement process. Based on an examination of publicâ€“private partnership project delivery in Ontario, Canada over the past decade, this study shows that the innovations realized through the publicâ€“private partnership process tend to be a series of design, construction method, and material selection choices primarily aimed at lowering project cost and risk. Conversely, more revolutionary innovations in terms of iconic architecture or substantial rethinking of the approach to public service delivery are not typically achieved through the publicâ€“private partnership process. The paper concludes by reflecting on the meaning of innovation in the infrastructure sector, and identifies the specific publicâ€“private partnership procurement processes that incentivize cost-saving ingenuities over more transformational innovations.
Keywords: Infrastructure planning; innovation; public-private partnerships (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sae:envirc:v:35:y:2017:i:5:p:746-764
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