nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2022‒02‒14
four papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Tartu Ülikool

  1. Can white elephants kill? Unintended consequences of infrastructure development in Peru By Antonella Bancalari
  2. The Merits of Project-Based Learning to Foster Entrepreneurship Education By Adri Du Toit
  3. Engaged Learning: Mutual benefits for course instruction and extension program delivery By Todd M. Schmit; Richard Stamm; Roberta M. Severson
  4. Negative results in science: Blessing or (winner's) curse? By Catherine Bobtcheff; Raphaël Levy; Thomas Mariotti

  1. By: Antonella Bancalari (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of St. Andrews)
    Abstract: It is widely accepted that investing in public infrastructure promotes economic development. However, there is little awareness of the prevalence of unfinished infrastructure projects and their consequences. In this paper, I study the effect of unfinished sewerage infrastructure on early-life mortality in Peru. I compile several sources of administrative panel data for 1,400 districts spanning 2005–2015, and I rely on the budgetary plans and timing of expenditure for 6,000 projects to measure unfinished projects and those completed in a given district. I document that mid-construction abandonment and delays are highly prevalent. I exploit geographical features and partisan alignment to instrument for project implementation. Surprisingly, I find that unfinished sewerage projects increased early-life mortality, driven by lack of water availability, water-borne diseases and accidents. I also show that while unfinished projects pose hazards to the population, completed sewerage projects decrease early-life mortality, in line with public health studies in advanced economies during the previous centuries.
    Date: 2020–09–28
  2. By: Adri Du Toit (North-West University, South Africa)
    Abstract: Entrepreneurship education affords valuable learning to prepare learners for the world of work, including the potential to reduce youth unemployment. South Africa has one of the highest youth unemployment rates globally, making it imperative to develop and expand entrepreneurship education in its school curriculum. The problem that needed investigation, was how such entrepreneurship education needed to be constructed in projects to benefit learners optimally. Literature indicates that education through entrepreneurship — often scaffolded using project-based learning — is preferred above other approaches. Consumer Studies was identified as the only subject in the South African school curriculum that included significant entrepreneurship education, in the form of an entrepreneurship project. The purpose of the current study was therefore to analyze and evaluate that project for its inclusion of project-based learning principles, to determine its strengths and areas for improvement. The intended aim for the research was to develop recommendations to improve the scaffolding of the project to enhance its focus of education through entrepreneurship. The findings of this research contribute to a better understanding of how entrepreneurship education should be scaffolded and implemented into existing subjects. The significance of the research includes that these findings can be used to inform the development of similar projects in other South African school subjects, consequently contributing to expanding effective entrepreneurship education. In the long term, more learners will then be able to benefit from the valuable learning associated with entrepreneurship education, which includes the potential to reduce youth unemployment in this country.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship education, principles, project-based learning, school curriculum, youth unemployment
    Date: 2021–06
  3. By: Todd M. Schmit; Richard Stamm; Roberta M. Severson
    Abstract: Engaged learning projects can effectively complement Extension programming goals and course learning objectives that enrich the outcomes for both components. A cooperative business management class at Cornell University provides an evaluation of the fundamental principles, structure, finance, and governance associated with the cooperative business model. In so doing, students analyze contemporary issues facing modern cooperatives. In collaboration with extension programming surrounding cooperative enterprises, contemporary issues are emphasized through projects with actual cooperative businesses. Cooperatives have included farmer-owned, customer-owned, and worker-owned businesses. Students benefit from applying principles learned in class, while cooperatives benefit from the fresh, new perspectives they receive from people outside their organization. Both value the highly interactive nature of this engagement and to which work plans and expected deliverables can and often do change throughout the course of the projects. This paper synthesizes the opportunities and obstacles associated with developing and administering engaged learning projects from the learned experiences of the class instructor, professional Extension staff, and cooperative industry clients. Recommended best practices are elucidated to better inform faculty interested in implementing this dynamic approach to extension and classroom education.
    Keywords: Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession
    Date: 2022–01–31
  4. By: Catherine Bobtcheff (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Raphaël Levy (HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales); Thomas Mariotti (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Two players receiving independent signals on a risky project with common value compete to be the first to invest. We characterize the equilibrium of this preemption game as the publicity of signals varies. Private signals create a winner's curse: the first mover suspects that his rival might have privately received adverse information, hence exited. To compensate, players seek more evidence supporting the project, resulting in later investment. A conservative planner concerned with avoiding unprofitable investments may then prefer private signals. Our results suggest that policy interventions should primarily tackle winner-takes-all competition, and regulate transparency only once competition is sufficiently mild.
    Date: 2022–01

This nep-ppm issue is ©2022 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.