The Political Cost of Public-Private Partnerships: Theory and Evidence from Colombian Infrastructure Development
55 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 26, 2019
Infrastructure public-private partnerships (PPPs) eschew traditional public management to provide distributive goods worldwide. Yet, in Colombia, the context of our study, both the promise of and voters’ experience with PPPs hinder incumbent parties in elections when theories of distributive politics expect otherwise. We argue that negative experiences with PPPs introduce a sociotropic turn in individual voting: bad experience crowds out the possibility that promising a new project will improve a voter’s own welfare. Studying what are to our knowledge all 109 Colombian PPP projects between 1998-2014, and over 8,700 individual survey responses, our evidence shows that vote intention for the incumbent executive or his party decreases as experience with more PPPs in respondents’ districts increases. Our analysis and results introduce an important agenda for research into the political significance of these legacies of New Public Management.
Keywords: public-private partnerships, political behavior, distributive politics, sociotropic voting, Colombia, public administration
JEL Classification: H4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation