UPDATED – Assessments of SOE Water Projects in Low Income Countries PART – I

Sep 5, 2010 — Neil Boyle

Assessments of SOE Water Projects in Low Income Countries 9-2-2010 PART – I

Having worked on SOE water projects in Brazil, India, Pakistan, Cambodia and the Philippines, it strikes me that we tend to look carefully at projects that are successful, but frequently give less than in-depth scrutiny to the projects that are not successful and why they are not.  Project designers generally spend considerable time thinking about how to incentivize the people and the institutions that are involved econoomically and administratively.  The following PART – I assessment of LIC water projects is an attempt at a greater in-depth assessment than has been attempted in the past.  The lens of this perspective comes from the work of Oliver E. Williamson, 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economics.  He extracted in reduced mathematical form the basic structure of economic exchange (1969, pp. 106-111): the transaction. Notwithstanding  reduced form mathematics, we now can generate new descriptions of infrastructure transactions, deduce many of its unobservable properties and penetrate deeper into the microanalytic world of infrastructure governance — witness this website. New knowledge, in the form of testable predictions permits scientific experimentation as means to further extend our knowledge of this valuable investment form. Fully formal mathematical work is in-progress and Williamson’s research continues in the slow, molecular and empirical fashion it has since the beginning of studies in the 1970s. Why is even reduced form mathematics important in the understanding of infrastructure governance? Among many reasons, the one that stands out has to do with motion, not motion in the physical displacement sense, but motion in the sense of pointing a path cost effectively toward the next workable increment of explanation. PART – I assesses the problems of SOE water projects in low-income countries, PART – II will look at how these problems can be addressed successfully.  Please click on the link above.

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