The study and practice of public-private partnerships in the Low Countries

Marlies Hueskes, Joop Koppenjan, Stefan Verweij

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have attracted considerable attention in the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium), as witnessed by the recent wave of doctoral theses on this topic. This paper presents a review of fourteen Dutch and Flemish doctoral theses, published in the period 2012-2015. The main purpose of the review was to examine what the theses’ most important findings are, but also to characterize the state of the art of the study of PPPs in the Low Countries. We found that they mainly focus on themes related to procurement, transaction costs, management, and legitimacy and accountability. However, although PPPs are often part of a debate between opponents and proponents, none of the studies found convincing arguments for or against the use of PPPs. Instead, most studies stressed the importance of contextual factors for the success of PPPs. The doctoral theses provided various valuable recommendations for practitioners regarding, e.g., the optimization of PPP procurement and the importance of soft management aspects such as collaborative working and process management. We observed that most theses studied PPPs by applying traditional theories and methods and that the majority focused on the early project phases of planning, procurement, and contracting. More research is needed into the later project phases. Finally, since the generalizability of the theses is limited, more programmatic, quantitative, and (international) comparative research is required.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventPublic-Private Partnership Conference: Smart Governance For Innovation By/In PPPs - Antwerp, Belgium
Duration: 20-Nov-201622-Nov-2016


ConferencePublic-Private Partnership Conference


  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Review
  • Flanders
  • Netherlands
  • Low Countries


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