University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

From the same journal

By the same authors


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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-163
Number of pages14
JournalCompetition and Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014


In general, the process and outcomes of privatization have been studied
from the point of view of efficiency. In this article, we consider issues in the
course of contract design, implementation, management and enforcement
in privatized public services and utilities. The study is based on two case
studies, involving several water concessions in Argentina and a management
contract in the urban water sector in Ghana. Three key arguments are
presented on the basis of these case studies. The first is that an individualistic
analytical framework is often utilized by the mainstream economic perspectives,
but these are inadequate for a comparative assessment of private versus public provision in public services where there are distinct collective or group interests and hence a wider socio-economic context and representation of different interests becomes highly important. Instead, the article proposes a political economy perspective, which pays due attention to distributional issues, group interests, ideology of states and power relations for the assessment of privatization contracts. Second, the administrative capacity of states and their resources play a key role for the outcomes of privatization. Finally, while some contractual issues could be resolved through resourcing and experience over time, others are inherent to the contractual relations with little prospect of remedy.


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Hulya Dagdeviren, Simon A. Robertson, 'A Political Economy of Privatization Contracts: The Case of Water and Sanitation in Ghana and Argentina', Competition & Change, Vol. 18 (2): 150-163, April 2014. The final, published version is available online at DOI: Published by SAGE.

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