nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2009‒08‒30
six papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Parnu College - Tartu University

  1. Rough Guide to Impact Evaluation of Environmental and Development Programs By Subhrendu K Pattanayak
  2. How do Organisational and Cognitive Distances Shape Firms’ Interactions with Universities and Public Research Institutes? By Broström, Anders; McKelvey, Maureen
  3. Explaining the Price of Voluntary Carbon Offsets By Marc N. Conte; Matthew J. Kotchen
  4. Repetition of Interaction and Learning: An Experimental Analysis By Bradley R. Staats; Francesca Gino; Gary P. Pisano
  5. Why did the Breed Reactor Fail? - Swedish and international nuclear development in a cold war context By Fjaestad, Maja
  6. Soft Budgets and Renegotiations in Public-Private Partnerships By Eduardo Engel; Ronald Fischer; Alexander Galetovic

  1. By: Subhrendu K Pattanayak
    Abstract: This paper is a “rough guide” for evaluation of programs, projects and policies in the environment and development arena. First, a general overview of the what, how, and why of program evaluation, with particular emphasis on the role of control groups, pre and post measurement, and covariate data to define counterfactual scenarios (including formal definition of all terms) are provided. Second, a detailed review with examples of the four main methods for evaluation – randomized experiments, natural experiments, matching methods, and panel-based DID estimators with a description of the pros and cons of each method is given. Finally, the econometric evaluations within the broader context is placed– how can we move beyond estimation of average treatment effects; what do we do under time, resource and data constraints; and when and where should we rely on theory-based evaluations.
    Keywords: evaluation, environment, development area, econometric, natural and quasi experiments, resource, data constraints, data, theory, DID estimators, south asia,
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Broström, Anders (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology); McKelvey, Maureen (RIDE and Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship)
    Abstract: This paper examines how the institutional set-up of public research organisations (PROs) affects how firms are able to utilise direct interaction with publicly employed researchers. We argue that the role that PRO interaction has to play in the firm’s innovation processes depend on the organisational and cognitive distances between the firm and the PRO. In particular, this paper empirically explores how Swedish engineering firms assess the value of R&D partnerships with universities and research institutes. Our theoretical discussion of organizational distance suggests that managers should perceive institute contacts to be more strongly associated with short-term R&D projects than university contacts. This hypothesis cannot be verified. Following from our discussion of cognitive distance, we find that firms with advanced R&D capabilities obtain differential benefits. Their interaction with universities provides impulses for innovation and offers opportunities to learn to a greater extent than contacts with public research institutes. However, firms with less advanced R&D capabilities perceive no significant differences between university and institute interaction. Thus, both organizational and cognitive distance affect firms’ interactions with PROs, and our results have implications for the current push in Europe to reform universities and institutes.
    Keywords: public research organisations; organisation of public research; universities; institutes; R&D interaction
    JEL: M21 O31 O32
    Date: 2009–08–26
  3. By: Marc N. Conte; Matthew J. Kotchen
    Abstract: This paper investigates factors that explain the large variability in the price of voluntary carbon offsets. We estimate hedonic price functions using a variety of provider- and project-level characteristics as explanatory variables. We find that providers located in Europe sell offsets at prices that are approximately 30 percent higher than providers located in either North America or Australasia. Contrary to what one might expect, offset prices are generally higher, by roughly 20 percent, when projects are located in developing or least-developed nations. But this result does not hold for forestry-based projects. We find evidence that forestry-based offsets sell at lower prices, and the result is particularly strong when projects are located in developing or least-developed nations. Offsets that are certified under the Clean Development Mechanism or the Gold Standard, and therefore qualify for emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, sell at a premium of more than 30 percent; however, third-party certification from the Voluntary Carbon Standard, one of the largest certifiers, is associated with a price discount. Variables that have no effect on offset prices are the number of projects that a provider manages and a provider’s status as for-profit or not-for-profit.
    JEL: Q2 Q42 Q5
    Date: 2009–08
  4. By: Bradley R. Staats (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Francesca Gino (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Gary P. Pisano (Harvard Business School, Technology and Operations Management Unit)
    Abstract: The learning curve is used to investigate how increasing cumulative experience yields improved performance. Experience, however, can take many forms. Building on recent studies on learning in operations, we distinguish between repetition of task (i.e., prior experience with the task) and repetition of interaction (i.e., prior experience with team members). Repetition of interaction may improve learning, since experience working together aids in the identification, transfer, and application of knowledge among members within a group. Additionally, experience need not be constrained to one task. Prior work examining the relationship of multiple tasks (i.e., varied experience) and learning by groups finds inconsistent results. We hypothesize that repetition of interaction may help explain this difference, as familiar teams may be able to use the knowledge gained from the concurrent completion of multiple tasks while unfamiliar teams may not. Using an experimental study we find that while repetition of interaction has no effect on initial performance, it has a persistent effect on learning. By separately examining the repetition of interaction and repetition of task our work offers new insights and direction for the study of learning in operations.
    Keywords: Learning, Repetition of interaction, Repetition of task, Team familiarity, Varied experience
    Date: 2009–08
  5. By: Fjaestad, Maja (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: This article discusses the visions about nuclear breeder reactors, plans set out in the aftermath of World War II. This seemed like the ideal solution for future energy, and even small countries, as Sweden, launched breeder reactor programs. The breeder reactor never reached industrial development, interestingly; however, different countries cancelled their breeder project at different times. In this article, in addition to discussing why breeder reactors failed generally, I also suggest possible explanations for the differences in when the reactors failed, particularly between Europe and the United States. Though the breeder reactor never fulfilled its promises, it is an interesting example about the complex mechanisms behind technological development. It tells us a story about a technological failure that is not simple, but must be understood in a social, economical and political context.
    Keywords: technology; technology development; institutions; innovation; innovation failure
    JEL: N70 O14 O32 O38
    Date: 2009–08–26
  6. By: Eduardo Engel (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Ronald Fischer (U. de Chile); Alexander Galetovic (U. de los Andes)
    Abstract: Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly used to provide infrastructure services. Even though PPPs have the potential to increase efficiency and improve resource allocation, contract renegotiations have been pervasive. We show that existing accounting standards allow governments to renegotiate PPP contracts and elude spending limits. Our model of renegotiations leads to observable predictions: (i) in a competitive market, firms lowball their offers, expecting to break even through renegotiation, (ii) renegotiations compensate lowballing and pay for additional expenditure, (iii) governments use renegotiation to increase spending and shift the burden of payments to future administrations, and (iv) there are significant renegotiations in the early stages of the contract, e.g. during construction. We use data on Chilean renegotiations of PPP contracts to examine these predictions and find that the evidence is consistent with the predictions of our model. Finally, we show that if PPP investments are counted as current government spending, the incentives to renegotiate contracts to increase spending disappear.
    Keywords: Build-operate-and-transfer, Concessions, Lowballing
    JEL: H21 L51 L91
    Date: 2009–08

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