Privatisation and Public Private Partnerships

Key information

Start date
Year of study
10 weeks
Module code
Centre for Financial and Management Studies

Module overview

This module aims to introduce you to the main forms of cooperation between the state and the private sector in the provision of public goods and services. It does so both by examining the theoretical bases of public-private partnerships, and by an analysis of a number of recent case studies of PPP in action.

The module text is focused primarily around the following two questions.

  • What are the role and the duties of a state – which goods and services should be guaranteed to the population when employing financial resources raised through taxation?
  • Which provisions should be made directly by the state, or instead outsourced to the private sector operating on its behalf?

Learning outcomes

When you have completed your study of this course you will be able to:

  • outline how state functions have evolved over time
  • discuss how the public sector typically relates to the private sector for the provision of public goods
  • explain and assess the main features of alternative public-private relationships
  • quantify the size of PP markets across the world and explain the source of PP regulations
  • assess the merits and limitations of alternative procurement legislations and procedures
  • identify the goals of the procuring administration
  • select the main dimensions for effective procurement design
  • describe concession contracts and their rationale, and assess different types
  • identify some of the merits and limitations of a PPP contract
  • explain the differences underlying alternative PPP models in different sectors
  • identify the main economic principles behind PPP case studies
  • explain the main reasons underlying privatisation of public assets
  • detail the regulatory challenges behind privatisation
  • assess the importance of regulatory institutions when privatising natural monopolies.

Tuition and assessment

Students are individually assigned an academic tutor for the duration of the module, with whom you can discuss academic queries at regular intervals during the study session.

You are required to complete two Assignments for this module, which will be marked by your tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 6, and the second assignment at the end of the module, on the Tuesday after Week 10. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Virtual Learning Environment.

You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in September/October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published on the website in July each year.

Study resources

  • Study guide: The module study guide is carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the assigned readings.
  • Readings: Throughout the module you will be directed to study a selection of readings, including journal articles, book extracts and case studies that are of particular relevance and interest to the topics covered in the module.
  • Virtual learning environment: You will have access to the VLE, a web-accessed study centre. Via the VLE, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the module using discussion forums. The VLE also provides access to the module Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Study calendar 2022/23

Elective module S1
Privatisation and Public Private Partnerships (M411)  Not running Not running Running Running

Study calendars are subject to change.

Module overview

Unit 1 Defining Public-Private Relationships

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 The Role of the State
  • 1.3 Public Procurement
  • 1.4 Public-Private Partnerships
  • 1.5 Privatisation
  • 1.6 Conclusion

Unit 2 The Size and Institutional Framework of Public Procurement

  • 2.1 Introduction: How Important Are Regulations for Effective PP?
  • 2.2 Outsourcing Trends in the Public Sector
  • 2.3 Public Procurement and Supranational Institutions
  • 2.4 Defence Procurement
  • 2.5 Public Procurement of Innovation
  • 2.6 Case Studies
  • 2.7 Conclusion

Unit 3 Designing Public Procurement

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Public Procurement and Economic Policy
  • 3.3 Best Value for Money in Procurement
  • 3.4 Centralised vs Decentralised Procurement
  • 3.5 Tendering Formats
  • 3.6 Risk Sharing and Incentives in Public Procurement
  • 3.7 Obligational and Adversarial Contracting
  • 3.8 Contracts and Quality Enforcement
  • 3.9 SMEs and Public Procurement
  • 3.10 Green and Sustainable Procurement
  • 3.11 Case Studies
  • 3.12 Conclusion

Unit 4 Concessions of Public Assets

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 The Rationale for Public Concessions
  • 4.3 Types of Concessions
  • 4.4 Infrastructure Concessions
  • 4.5 Forest, Land and Mining Concessions
  • 4.5 Conclusion

Unit 5 Public-Private Partnerships (PPP): Principles

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 The Variety of PPPs
  • 5.3 The Economics of PPPs
  • 5.4      Conclusion

Unit 6 PPP Case Studies

  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 The London Underground
  • 6.3 Urban Water Provision in Developing Countries
  • 6.4 Infrastructural Projects in Indonesia and Vietnam
  • 6.5 Conclusion
Unit 7 Privatising Public Assets
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Why Privatise?
  • 7.3 Which Public Assets to Privatise?
  • 7.4 How to Privatise?
  • 7.5 Privatisation and Regulation
  • 7.6 Conclusion

Unit 8 Privatisation Case Studies

  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 The Privatisation of the British Rail System
  • 8.3 Privatisation of the Sidney Airport
  • 8.4 Partial Privatisation in China and Singapore
  • 8.5 Telecom Privatisation in Croatia
  • 8.6 Conclusion

Module samples


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules