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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 10 / 2006 (505)

Empirical Approaches of the Public-Private Partnership in the Services of Public Utility

Lucica Matei
Scoala Nationala de Studii Politice si Administrative Bucuresti

Abstract. The paper approaches from a theoretical and empirical perspective the public-private partnership in Romania with special reference to the services of public utility. The premises for the approach are as follows: 1. The economic-social development and the reform of the public sector in the world, with the corresponding budgetary constraints and cutting off the number of jobs in the public sector represent dimensions of the development of the change management, known on world level since the ’80s period. These issues have created the conditions and opportunities for new economic, managerial, social, political concepts and theories of law and have “invented” new models of public services to which specific models of management correspond. The theory is enriched with new dimensions switching from an immediate conception of the public sector reform and public services reform – that can be temporarily delimited in a political mandate – to a conception based on stages, with rules that are well thought, accepted and understood by all the involved actors (politicians, users-citizens, suppliers). 2. The development of the adequate institutional context for the promotion of the public-private partnership simultaneously with the stable, coherent legal context inscribes in extremely diverse backgrounds, differing from country to country and awarding a different place to the intervention of the public power, within the framework of the capacity building process. Therefore, the models promoted by the developed countries can be considered experiences, varying from a public service to another, from a city to another or from country to country, requiring contextual, cultural, economic, social adjustments. 3. The public authority through the public-private partnership seeks an improvement of the public service quality and the private operator seeks a profit proportional with the capital invested, with his competencies and risks. The diversity of the solutions adopted by the local administrations in the public-private partnership demonstrates the feature of uniqueness of each partnership, the role of the local communities and it confirms the fact that the partnership will not be identified with “the principle of association and division” of objectives, benefits and risks. The circumstances of change may be barriers for the local community or for the individuals, having double action, namely: positive action of stimulation and negative action of brake. Finally, the paper presents Romania’s experience concerning the case of a concession, fact that links a local community (Bucharest Municipality) with a concessionaire company. The current version represents an adaptation of a broader paper, presented at the international conference: “A Performing Public Sector: The Second TransAtlantic Dialogue (2TAD)”, Leuven, Belgium.

Keywords: public-private partnership; public services; local community; risks.

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