Political economy scholarship suggests that private sector investment, and thus economic growth, is more likely to occur when formal institutions allow states to provide investors with credible commitments to protect property rights. This book argues that this maxim does not hold for infrastructure privatization programs. Rather, differences in firm organizational structure better explain in the viability of privatization contracts in weak institutional environments. Domestic investors – or, if contracts are granted subnationally, domestic investors with diverse holdings in their contract jurisdiction – work most effectively in the volatile economic and political environments of the developing world. They are able to negotiate mutually beneficial adaptations to their contracts with host governments because cross-sector diversification provides them with informal contractual supports. The book finds strong empirical support for this argument through an analysis of fourteen water and sanitation privatization contracts in Argentina and a statistical analysis of sector trends in developing countries.
Book published by Cambridge University Press, 2014
Alison Post is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Global Metropolitan Studies. Her research lies at the intersection of comparative urban politics and comparative political economy, with a regional focus on Latin America. It examines several related themes: the politics of regulating privatized infrastructure, the varying ability of subnational governments to provide infrastructure services effectively following the decentralization wave of the 1990s, and the politics of urban policy more broadly. She is the author of Foreign and Domestic Investment in Argentina: The Politics of Privatized Infrastructure (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and articles in Politics & Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, World Development, and other outlets. She has been named a Clarence Stone Scholar (an early career award) by the Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Her doctoral dissertation, “Liquid Assets and Fluid Contracts: Explaining the Uneven Effects of Water and Sanitation Privatization,” won the 2009 William Anderson award from the American Political Science Association for the best dissertation in the general field of federalism, intergovernmental relations, state or local politics. She has served as a a Marshall Scholar, a postdoctoral research scholar with the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University, a Visiting Researcher at the Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad in Buenos Aires and the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (E.C.L.A.C.) in Santiago, and as a Researcher at L.S.E. Urban Research in London.
This event is co-sponsored by the Bill Lane Center for the American West and the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.