• Article

Public–private partnerships: Perspectives on purposes, publicness, and good governance

Public–private partnerships (PPPs) have long been advocated and analyzed as organizational solutions to pressing societal problems that call for the comparative advantages of government, business, and civil society. However, ongoing questions remain about how to design, manage, and assess PPPs. The large literature on PPPs suffers from conceptual imprecision, and is weakly integrated. This article seeks to address these problems. It offers a discussion of partnership definitions and builds a framework that examines the features of PPPs as they relate to achieving particular purposes: policy, service delivery, infrastructure, capacity building, and economic development. The article summarizes the contributions to the symposium: social enterprise PPPs that target poverty reduction, health service delivery partnerships with faith-based organizations, diasporas as partners for international development, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the Better Factories Cambodia partnership. In examining cross-cutting themes, the analysis focuses on publicness and potential to promote international norms associated with good governance. Conclusions address the role of new partners in PPPs, the difficulties in finding a balance of interests and incentives among partners, the implications of embodying and promoting international good governance norms and values, the different sources of authority that operate within PPPs, and the trade-offs among PPPs' advantages.


Brinkerhoff, D. (2011). Public–private partnerships: Perspectives on purposes, publicness, and good governance. Public Administration and Development, 31(1), 2-14. DOI: 10.1002/pad.584

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