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Type: Public event

Water System Finance: the Political Pitfalls of Public-Private Partnerships


Manny Teodoro, Director of Policy and Politics Program and Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Texas A & M University

Date & time

Jan 28, 2019, 11:30 am-12:50 pm EST


Weill Hall, Betty Ford Classroom (1110)
735 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Free and open to the public

About the Lecture:
Please join us in a Conversation Across Difference, as Professor Teodoro discusses alternative ownership and management models for water and sewer utilities, as well as the political dimensions of public, private, and public-private partnerships (P3s), and what they mean for cost and quality.  

Currently about 84% of American drinking water utilities are owned and operated by local governments; about 15% are private, investor-owned companies, and a tiny percentage operate as public-private partnerships (P3s). Many communities with struggling utilities pursue privatization or P3s as potential ways to address their problems. These processes invariably focus principally on finance, with little attention to water quality or political processes.

Dr. Teodoro will share theory, case studies, and statistical models that tell the story of the advantages and disadvantages of public and private ownership of water and sewer for urban/rural and large/small systems.

Dr. Manny Teodoro’s scholarship stands at the nexus of politics, public policy, and public management. His research focuses on U.S. environmental policy, examining the ways in which human capital, management practices, and political institutions condition the implementation of federal environmental regulations. He pursues a line of applied policy research on water utility finance and management, and has developed new methods for assessing rate equity and affordability. Ongoing efforts include comparative analysis of private and public utility management, as well analysis of racial, ethnic, and income disparities in environmental compliance and enforcement.

Professor Teodoro’s public administration research emphasizes executive behavior, with special attention to professions and bureaucratic career systems as political phenomena. His award-winning book, Bureaucratic Ambition (2011, Johns Hopkins University Press), argues that ambition–psychological motives manifested in a career opportunity structure–shapes administrators’ decisions to innovate and to engage in politics, with important consequences for innovation in government and democratic governance. Current research on executive career systems seeks to link executive backgrounds and career paths to management behavior and organizational outcomes.

Professor Teodoro’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Water Research Foundation, and American Water Works Association. His work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Policy, State & Local Government Review, and the Journal of the American Water Works Association.

Sponsored by:  University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Co-sponsored by:  Environmental Law and Policy Program (ELPP), Graham Sustainability Institute, School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS)

For more information visit or call 734-647-4091. Follow on Twitter @closup