nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2017‒03‒26
eight papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Tartu Ülikool

  1. Constrained Allocation of Projects to Heterogenous Workers with Preferences over Peers By Flip Klijn
  2. On the Failure of Scientific Research: An Analysis of SBIR Projects Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health By Andersen, Martin; Bray, Jeremy; Link, Albert
  3. Challenges of Public-Private Partnership in the Cultural Sector By Ganason, Vera
  4. The impact of rule of laws on the recovery of distressed PPP infrastructure Projects By Kokkaew, Nakhon; Oliveira Cruz, Carlos; Alexander, Derek
  5. Checking Gollier and Weitzman's solution of the "Weitzman-Gollier puzzle" By Szekeres, Szabolcs
  6. Weathering Collapse: An Assessment of the Financial and Operational Situation of the Venezuelan Oil Industry By Igor Hernandez; Francisco Monaldi
  7. Rewarding Mediocrity? Optimal Regulation of R&D Markets with Reputation Concerns By Chia-Hui Chen; Junichiro Ishida
  8. Global Kids Online: researching children's rights globally in the digital age By Mariya Stoilova; Sonia Livingstone; Daniel Kardefelt-Winther

  1. By: Flip Klijn
    Abstract: We study the problem of allocating projects to heterogenous workers. The simultaneous execution of multiple projects imposes constraints across project teams. Each worker has preferences over the combinations of projects in which he can potentially participate and his team members in any of these projects. We propose a revelation mechanism that is Pareto-efficient and group strategy-proof (Theorem 1). We also identify two preference domains on which the mechanism is strongly group strategy-proof (Theorem 2). Our results subsume results by Monte and Tumennasan (2013) and Kamiyama (2013).
    Keywords: matching; allocation; heterogenous agents; preferences over peers; efficiency; (group) strategy-proofness
    JEL: C78 D61 D78 I20
    Date: 2017–03
  2. By: Andersen, Martin (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics); Bray, Jeremy (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics); Link, Albert (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is the primary source of public funding in the United States for research by small firms on new technologies, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a major contributor to that funding agenda. Although previous research has explored the determinants of research success for NIH SBIR projects, little is known about the determinants of project failure. This paper provides important, new evidence on the characteristics of NIH SBIR projects that fail. Specifically, we find that firms that have a founder with a business background are less likely to have their funded projects fail. We also find, after controlling for the endogenous nature of woman-owned firms, that such firms are also less likely to fail.
    Keywords: technology; innovation; R&D; small firms; SBIR; NIH
    JEL: O31 O32 O33 O38
    Date: 2017–03–15
  3. By: Ganason, Vera
    Abstract: The purpose of this business research project is to identify the challenges of public-private partnership in New Zealand, particularly in the cultural sector. With the baseline funding remaining static over the last few years, there is a need for the cultural sector to engage with private sectors as an alternative source of funding to enable it to safeguard New Zealand’s cultural assets which incorporates maintaining cultural site and delivering cultural activities. Accordingly, the objective of this business research project is to gain a better insight and understanding regarding the challenges of public-private partnership in the context of New Zealand’s cultural sector, particularly through the experience and views of the research participants. This research will highlight the key challenges and the impact these challenges have in determining the success or failure of public-private partnership projects. Analysis on the data generated from the interviews with the research participants revealed similar and dissimilar challenges of public-private partnership. However, it was evident from the interviews with the research participants and the current literature that there were benefits and opportunities in public-private partnership in the New Zealand cultural sector. The recommendations, specifically focused on stakeholder management were provided to assist the cultural sector mitigate the challenges of public-private partnership. The recommendations were also aimed at assisting the cultural sector maintain a successful long-term partnership with their private financiers. Ultimately, a successful public-private partnership will provide the New Zealand cultural sector with an alternative strategy to source finances to bridge the gap in funding required to preserve New Zealand’s cultural assets which incorporates maintaining cultural sites and delivering cultural activities. The structure of this business research report is as follows: Section 1 to Section 5 provides the purpose and objective of this research; an introduction on the definition and value of culture to New Zealanders; background information on public-private funding and why it is an alternative source of funding; and discusses the findings in the current literature. Section 6 consists of the research design which includes the research methodology; research method; planning and resourcing for this research. Section 7 to Section 9 provides the findings from this research; a discussion comparing and contrasting the finding with those in the current literature; and recommendations to mitigate the challenges of public-private partnership, particularly in the context of the New Zealand cultural sector.
    Keywords: Public-private partnership, Cultural sector, Funding,
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Kokkaew, Nakhon; Oliveira Cruz, Carlos; Alexander, Derek
    Abstract: As Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) around the world gain in popularity as a way to finance needed infrastructure, careful study prior to implementing PPP infrastructure projects becomes more important to avoid distress and cancellation in later stages. Unlike traditional infrastructure projects delivered using public finance, PPP projects usually have complex capital structures and multi-party operational control. These parties typically have differing, even diverging goals, which may conflict when faced with operating difficulty. The sponsors of those distressed PPP projects must then renegotiate their contracts with the host government and lenders if the project is to continue operating. This renegotiation occurs in the shadow of local law concerning security interests, contract rights, insolvency and bankruptcy, as parties calibrate their positions to potential downside outcomes. This paper examines the impact of such laws on the distressed PPP infrastructure projects in Thailand. The paper focuses the study on two main contracts commonly found in PPP projects: one between the sponsors and the host government, and the other between the sponsors and the secured lenders.
    Keywords: KEYWORDS: distressed PPP projects, PPP laws and regulations.
    JEL: G38 H54 P16
    Date: 2015–06–01
  5. By: Szekeres, Szabolcs
    Abstract: In "How should the distant future be discounted when discount rates are uncertain?" (2010) Gollier and Weitzman claimed having solved the Weitzman-Gollier puzzle, concluding from a risk-averse utility maximizing model that Weitzman discounting is qualitatively correct and that when uncertain annual interest rates are highly correlated, long term discount rates are declining functions of time. This paper quantifies a similar model and comes to the opposite conclusion. Weitzman discounting is wrong; there is no puzzle if the correct method is used. Risk-neutral discount rates are growing, rather than declining functions of time under the Weitzman assumptions. Risk-averse discount rates can be declining, but must not be used to discount risky project's cash flows; risk adjusted rates must be used instead. When long term market yields are a growing function of time, it makes no sense to invest in projects of similar risk but lesser yield, irrespective of one's degree of risk-aversion.
    Keywords: Weitzman-Gollier puzzle,declining discount rates,discounting
    JEL: D61 H43
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Igor Hernandez; Francisco Monaldi
    Abstract: Venezuela has one of the most abundant geological endowments in the world. Oil proven reserves are among the largest globally, even if a more conservative criterion than the one used by the current government is applied. However, these resources are qualitatively different than those of other abundant regions such as the Middle East. The large majority constitutes extra-heavy oil, which generally requires higher oil prices to be extracted profitably. During the last decade, the Venezuelan oil industry wasted a unique opportunity to increase investment and production. At the high oil prices that prevailed, the massive oil reserves could have been monetized by rapidly increasing production with a large margin of profitability. Quite to the contrary, production steadily dropped due either to lack of investment in the new unconventional oil projects or for failing to compensate the decline of the older conventional fields. It is a tragic story of great potential with dismal performance. A series of trends were negatively impacting the Venezuelan oil industry even before the oil price collapse in 2014. From the revenue side, although oil prices showed an increase in real terms of 120% between 2000 and 2014, the barrels that effectively generate cash for Venezuela have shown a continuous decline. This is not just because production has been declining for the most part during the last eighteen years (a trend that has gotten significantly worse during the last year), but also because of a number of developments. First, during that period, total exports have declined more rapidly than production, and recently, net exports have declined more than total exports. Consumption in the massively subsidized domestic market increased until 2013 (when it started to decline likely because of the recession in the local economy), while imports of oil products for the domestic market have increased since 2012. The domestic market not only generates negative cash-flow for the national oil company (NOC), PDVSA, but also its expansion reduced the barrels available to export. More recently, there has also been an increase in imports of light oil and naphtha as diluents for the extra-heavy oil. Second, the Venezuelan production basket has become heavier and the share of unconventional production, generally less profitable, has increased. Third, the production wholly operated by PDVSA has been falling much more rapidly, while the production share of joint-ventures increased. Fourth, a significant share of the exports to Latin America and the Caribbean is subsidized (although these exports have declined recently). Fifth, some oil exports are committed to repay debts of PDVSA and specially the Venezuelan government, limiting the actual cash flow received by the company. In particular, the government’s debt agreements with China involve a significant and increasing amount of production, although recently those agreements were restructured, allowing for a grace period with no capital amortization. From the expenditure side, PDVSA was increasingly responsible of carrying social expenditures and activities not related to the oil industry, which limited the resources for highly profitable investments. That is in addition to the increased fiscal take due to changes in the tax legislation. Also, higher investment requirements due to an increase in the equity share of PDVSA in joint venture projects, has had an impact on its cash flow. The explanations for the underperformance of the Venezuelan oil industry basically fall into two connected categories: the multiple problems facing PDVSA; and the increase in above-ground risks for foreign investors operating in the country. The deterioration of the institutional framework, led to radical fiscal and regulatory changes, and to the nationalization of the majority of the industry. In addition, the substantial over-extraction of resources from the NOC, the significant macroeconomic distortions affecting the cost structure of oil companies, and the constraints imposed by the energy infrastructure and human capital availability; have combined to produce dismal results. The massive firing of the majority of the management and technical experts from PDVSA in 2003 following the political conflict that led to a strike, has left the company with limited capabilities to operate effectively. The recent decline in oil prices, and the changes in the international market structure, have exposed more dramatically the difficulties facing the Venezuelan oil sector, and call into question its ability to prevent a continuation of the declining trend in oil extraction. This situation becomes particularly severe if we take into account the cash flow constraints facing PDVSA, as well as its multiple operational problems, power cuts, and conflicts with oilfield services providers. These challenges are proportional to the enormous investments required to finance the projects in the Orinoco Oil Belt, where most of the reserves in Venezuela are located, and where the quality of the crude and the lack of development of the region, are just two of the many issues that need to be addressed. Since this paper is part of a wider project to understand the macroeconomic challenges facing the country in 2016-17, it focuses narrowly on the financial problems of the oil industry in the short-term and the operational challenges that could impede its recovery in the next couple of years. Within this context, it largely analyzes the upstream operations, i.e. oil extraction, rather than the downstream, given that in the former is where the oil rents are generated and constitutes the main source of foreign exchange and fiscal revenues of Venezuela. Other areas for further research are mentioned at the end of the document.2 Official figures are used to the extent that they are publicly available. An important aspect that prevents an exhaustive evaluation of the oil sector in Venezuela is the lack of available information regarding key performance indicators affecting the cost structure of oil projects, the cash flow of PDVSA, and the fiscal contributions of the oil sector to the government, among other important variables. Thus, on occasion, estimations for variables of interest and explanations for their divergence from official figures are provided. The paper has two main sections. The first one analyzes the issues affecting the cash flow of PDVSA, the effects of macroeconomic and fiscal variables on both revenues and costs, as well as other financial issues affecting the performance of the company. The second section discusses some of the operational challenges facing the industry and mentions areas for further research. 2For a more general overview of the recent developments of the oil sector in Venezuela see Monaldi (2015) 2For a more general overview of the recent developments of the oil sector in Venezuela see Monaldi (2015)
    Date: 2016–11
  7. By: Chia-Hui Chen; Junichiro Ishida
    Abstract: In this paper, we consider a dynamic signaling model of an R&D market in which a researcher can choose either a safe project (exploitation) or a risky project (exploration) at each instance. We argue that there are substantial efficiency gains from rewarding minor innovations above their social value and further that it is indeed superior to rewarding major innovations directly, even when those minor innovations are intrinsically valueless in themselves. When only major innovations are rewarded, the R&D market eventually shuts down due to a version of the lemons problem. Rewarding minor innovations is actually conducive to major innovations as it induces self-sorting among researchers, which is essential in providing time and resources necessary for more productive ones to take riskier but more ambitious approaches. This result draws clear contrast to the static counterpart where such a scheme can never be optimal. Our model also exhibits reputation dynamics which capture a pervasive view in academia that “no publications are better than a few mediocre publications” at an early stage of one's career.
    Date: 2017–03
  8. By: Mariya Stoilova; Sonia Livingstone; Daniel Kardefelt-Winther
    Abstract: Drawing on an ongoing international research project, Global Kids Online, this article examines the theoretical and methodological challenges of conducting global research on children’s rights in the digital age at a time of intense socio-technological change and contested policy development. Arguing in favour of critically rethinking existing research frameworks and measures for new circumstances, we report on the experience of designing a research toolkit and piloting this in four countries on four continents. We aim to generate national and cross-national insights that can benefit future researchers and research users concerned to build a robust evidence base to understand children’s rights in the digital age. It is hoped that such experiences will prompt wider lessons for the unfolding research and policy agenda
    Keywords: Child rights; comparative methods; contexts of childhood; digital age; evidence-based policy; global research; stakeholder partnership
    JEL: L91 L96
    Date: 2016–11–07

This nep-ppm issue is ©2017 by Arvi Kuura. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.