Government at all levels in the United States has been slowly moving away from grand central planning schemes and toward markets. One result has been the rise of public-private partnerships (PPPs). Proponents of these arrangements argue that many of the information and transaction cost problems inherent in government institutions can be mitigated by sharing construction, maintenance, and operational responsibilities with profit-motivated private firms. When the status quo is a government monopoly, PPPs should be viewed as preferable in nearly every case. Unfortunately, PPPs can also drive rent-seeking behavior, and create significant risk of improper collusion between political actors and politically preferred firms and industries.
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