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Effectiveness of Partnerships for Sustainable Development – Behavioral Pathways and Impacts
Research Question:

What are the effectiveness and the impact of public-private partnerships for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals?

Partnerships between public and non-state actors for the provision of collective goods have become important instruments for addressing core issues on the sustainable development agenda such as health, education, humanitarian issues, or clean energy. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasize the role of partnerships in the implementation of sustainability. Yet, while the academic literature provides valuable insights on the rise of public-private partnerships (PPPs), we know considerably less about their variable effectiveness and impact. Do PPPs simply repackage existing practices with effect and accountability, or do they contribute new and additional instruments and development outcomes?
 
This project will draw on political science, economics, management studies and public policy to advance the study of partnerships effectiveness both theoretically and empirically with respect to the SDGs. The main research questions guiding the project are: 

  • How can we conceptualize and operationalize the effectiveness for PPPs? Through what mechanisms are PPPs effects likely to materialize? 
  • What are the sources and limitations of the effectiveness of PPPs for sustainability? 
  • How do PPPs interact with other forms of governance at the international and subnational level to influence results for the SDGs?

 
The research methodology will proceed to elaborate collaboratively a mixed-methods approach to disentangling different types of effects of PPP activities, as well as limitations of PPP governance. The methods will combine quantitative and qualitative techniques, namely: comparative case studies, new coding indicators, cases and surveys across several SDG issues, economic methods (e.g. randomized control trials) and innovative use of complexity theory.
 
The project will contribute to scientific and practical progress by providing the first inter-disciplinary, integrated and comparative theoretical approach and data on the effectiveness of partnerships for sustainability. 
 

Starting

Project Members

Name Role Department/Institute Institution
Liliana Andonova Coordinator Political Science/IR Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Gilles Carbonnier Co-Coordinator Economics Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Axel Michaelowa Principal Member Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS) University of Zurich
Susan Bissel Associated Member The Global Partnership to End Violence against Children UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
Moira Faul Associated Member Geneva Public Private Partnership Center University of Geneva
Tom Hale Associated Member Blavatnik School of Government University of Oxford
Henry Lee Associated Member Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Harvard University
Katharina Michaelowa Associated Member Institute for Political Sciences University of Zurich
Gilbert Probst Associated Member Geneva Public Private Partnership Center University of Geneva
Amanda Sardonis Associated Member Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Harvard University
Lea Stadtler Associated Member Grenoble Ecole de Management