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Public Values in Public–Private Partnerships


  • Anne-Marie Reynaers is completing her doctoral thesis on public values in public–private partnerships in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, VU University Amsterdam. She holds a research master's degree in public administration and organizational science from the University of Utrecht. Her main fi elds of interest are public values, public–private partnerships, good governance, DBFMO (design–build–fi nance– maintain–operate) projects; and public management. E-mail:


Although public–private partnerships (PPPs) are frequently analyzed and lauded in terms of efficiency, their impact on public values is often neglected. As a result, there is little empirical evidence supporting or rejecting the claim that PPPs have a negative effect on public values. This case study provides valuable insight into the relationship between public values in PPPs and the circumstances affecting the degree to which public values are upheld. Research findings demonstrate that whether public values are at stake in PPPs cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Rather, public values can be threatened, safeguarded, or even strengthened depending on the project phase and the specific facet of the public value under scrutiny. Insight into which circumstances influence the safeguarding of public values in DBFMO (design–build–finance–maintain–operate) projects unravels the strengths and weaknesses of PPPs in terms of public values, providing public managers with a starting point for optimization.