Renegotiating public-private partnerships

Joaquim Miranda Sarmento, Luc Renneboog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are frequently renegotiated as their contracts are long-term, often with a duration exceeding 30 years, involve major investments, and are necessary incomplete. Still, while contract incompleteness is difficult to prevent, renegotiation frequency does not decline in spite of decades of experience. Electoral cycles and political connections lead to strategic behaviour by both the public sector, intending to please the electorate, and the private entity, often taking advantage of the fact that the government cannot afford disruption in public services prior to elections. The bargaining power is held mainly by private firms/corporate consortiums who extract additional rents to compensate for underbidding at the initial bidding rounds. When a consortium dominated by a foreign firm, the frequency of negotiations is higher but the extraction of rents from renegotiations is lower, reflecting a lower degree of political connectedness. Experience with PPP projects does not reduce the likelihood of subsequent renegotiations. In spite of the recommendations of the PPP supervisor (the Court of Audit), the public sector has not implemented improvements in contract design and renegotiations clauses of PPP contracts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100661
JournalJournal of Multinational Financial Management
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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