Public Management Reform and Public-Private Partnership

International Journal of Applied Public - Private Partnerships (ISSN: 1742-5271) Volume 1 Issue 2

Professor Philip I. Mathew
Department of Leadership and Management
U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut


Political and intellectual climate in decades before and after the WWII promoted the role and the size of public sector in most countries. However, buoyed by such factors as unsustainable financial burden of the welfare state, technological and financial globalisation, rising conservative ideology, and high growth rate of East Asia’s more open economies in the last two decades, the new millennium opened with a fairly universal trend in the opposite direction. While the change reflected a strong emphasis on ‘managerialism’ in Europe, it underscored the focus on downsizing and privatisation in the U.S. Among other factors, the shift in American attitude was influenced also by its conservative political ethos and a declining confidence in its public institutions. Despite differences in circumstances and relative importance of the driving forces, a greater emphasis on private markets to deliver public goods and services has meant greater reliance on public-private partnerships on both sides of the Atlantic. Using several brief case studies of PPPs with a wide variety of missions—ranging from broadly defined and politically contentious to narrowly focused on functionalism with an emphasis on entrepreneurship—the paper examines the changing nature and the key success factors of public-private partnership in the United States. It concludes that, by successfully integrating governance issues and management practices, PPPs in the U.S. are tending to move up in the evolutionary ladder to higher levels of maturity and greater efficiency. Such a trend has wider implications for both public sector management and public-private partnerships.

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