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Accounting-related research in PPPs/PFIs: present contributions and future opportunities

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to review research investigating the implications of public private partnership (PPP) schemes for public investment, focusing on the role and effects of accounting as it relates to the assessment, management, control, reporting, accountability and policy direction of these arrangements. Based on this review, it aims to offer reflections on future directions for this research agenda. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper derives five research themes adapted from the PPP research agenda outlined by Broadbent and Laughlin as a framework to guide a literature-based analysis and critique of the relevant PPP literature published up to December 2010. Findings ‐ The review highlights the range of interesting contributions that extant accounting-related research has made to current knowledge about PPP policy and procedure. From this, concentrations of research effort are identified (its largely technical, critical, procurement-oriented and Anglo-centric focus), and opportunities for future research are proposed. With regard to the latter, the opportunities proffered have in common a need to question the nature and functioning of PPPs, consider the complexities of PPPs in action, and explore connections between research and practice. Originality/value ‐ The main contributions this paper makes relate to understanding the "state of the art" of accounting-related PPP research, the progress this research agenda has made in line with Broadbent and Laughlin's agenda, as well as insights into fruitful directions future research could take.
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Keywords: Partnership; Private finance; Private finance initiative; Public private partnership; Public sector accounting; Public sector investment; Value for money

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-06-15

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