Assessing the Impact of Public—Private Partnerships in the Global South: The Case of the Kasur Tanneries Pollution Control Project [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 90 (1):57 - 78 (2009)
This paper makes a contribution to ongoing debates about whether and how we can empirically assess the potential, limitations, and actual impacts of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in developing countries. Several United Nations and bilateral aid agencies have called for the development of impact assessment (IA) methodologies that can help clarify when, how, where, and for whom partnerships work. This paper scrutinizes some of the key assumptions underlying this debate, arguing that no objective ' truth' about the effects of PPPs can be discovered through the use of such methodologies. The paper then investigates what can actually be known about a PPP's effects by testing a PPP IA framework that is recommended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This is done using a case study from Pakistan. The paper shows that IA methodology may provide an indication of how well a PPP has fared, but not why the PPP has turned out the way it has. At the same time, win-win and win-lose outcomes may exist simultaneously, even for the same stakeholder in the PPP. While the importance of ensuring proper design, monitoring, and IA of PPPs cannot be denied, their effects must be seen as an outcome of struggles between a variety of actors over the distribution of social and environmental hazards associated with broader processes of economic development and industrialization
Keywords public–private partnerships  impact assessment  corporate social responsibility  Pakistan
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