IWP research fellows Olivia Jensen and Qian Neng along with LKY School adjunct professor Wu Xun have won a SGD 137,000 grant from the Research Grants Council. The grant is for a 2-year project entitled “Swimming Against the Tide: Public-Private Partnership in the Water Sector in China.”
China’s phenomenal growth in PPPs in the water sector in recent years offers unprecedented opportunities to understand why the performance of water PPPs may differ considerably from each other. Against the backdrop of the retreat of private sector participation in the water sector elsewhere globally, the country has seen a massive proliferation of PPPs in water sector in the last decade; 300 PPP projects reached financial closure in water sector in China from 2006 to 2015, accounting for more than 60% the total number of such projects in the world during the same period. The sheer number of such projects not only offers necessary variations among comparable water PPPs for econometric analysis, but also provides potential opportunities for conducting comparative case studies that are analytically rigorous.
This research aims to contribute to a better understanding of factors and dynamics that may affect the performance and long-term sustainability of PPPs by systematically addressing a set of questions in the context of the rapid development of water PPPs in China. Why have some water PPP projects performed well while others have failed,despite of being situated under similar institutional environments? What are different pathways for water PPPs to succeed, and what are different pathways to failure? What are key factors or dynamics that can contribute to long-term sustainability of water PPPs? The answers to these questions will have significant impact not only in advancingthe theories of PPP in public service delivery, but also in safeguarding the effectiveness, efficiency and equity in the provision of water services in China in an era of PPP.