A meta-analysis of the public-private partnership literature reviews: exploring the identity of the field

    Timur Narbaev   Affiliation


The growing literature in PPP has made the field multi-disciplinary, over-differentiated, and unconsolidated. Taking a meta-analysis lens, this study investigates an unexplored identity of the field. It consolidates 61 review articles in PPP, analyses them across numerous review categories, and provides implications and suggestions for future studies. The review categories include the purpose of study, methods used, dataset details, journal and author details, primary disciplinary focus, awareness of previous review studies, and evolution of the PPP review literature. The findings reveal that the literature progressed through four evolution phases: from initiation, formation, growth, to expansion. Future review works should involve more empirical studies and examine the practical relevance of the PPP research. Promising areas are PPP governance, complexity, post-transfer phases, sustainability-related issues, and real estate development through PPP. The PPP researchers in construction engineering and management, property management, public management, and transportation will benefit from understanding the field’s identity, how it is currently being formed, promising areas, and where the literature is evolving.

Keyword : discipline identity, infrastructure projects, literature review, meta-analysis, property development, public-private partnerships, scientometrics

How to Cite
Narbaev, T. (2022). A meta-analysis of the public-private partnership literature reviews: exploring the identity of the field. International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 26(4), 318–331.
Published in Issue
Nov 7, 2022
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
SM Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Aerts, C., Sunyoto, T., Tediosi, F., & Sicuri, E. (2017). Are public-private partnerships the solution to tackle neglected tropical diseases? A systematic review of the literature. Health Policy, 121(7), 745–754.

Agi, M. A. N., Faramarzi-Oghani, S., & Hazır, Ö. (2021). Game theory-based models in green supply chain management: a review of the literature. International Journal of Production Research, 59(15), 4736–4755.

Akintoye, A., & Chinyio, E. (2005). Private finance initiative in the healthcare sector: trends and risk assessment. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 12(6), 601–616.

Akomea-Frimpong, I., Jin, X., & Osei-Kyei, R. (2021). A holistic review of research studies on financial risk management in public–private partnership projects. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 28(9), 2549–2569.

Andon, P. (2012). Accounting-related research in PPPs/PFIs: present contributions and future opportunities. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 25(5), 876–924.

Bao, F., Chan, A. P. C., Chen, C., & Darko, A. (2018). Review of public–private partnership literature from a project lifecycle perspective. Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 24(3), 04018008.

Bovaird, T. (2004). Public–private partnerships: from contested concepts to prevalent practice. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 70(2), 199–215.

Brinkerhoff, D. W., & Brinkerhoff, J. M. (2011). Public-private partnerships: perspectives on purposes, publicness, and good governance. Public Administration and Development, 31(1), 2–14.

Brogaard, L. (2021). Innovative outcomes in public-private innovation partnerships: a systematic review of empirical evidence and current challenges. Public Management Review, 23(1), 135–157.

Button, K. (2016). Public–private partnerships: a review of economic considerations with particular reference to transportation projects. Transportation Planning and Technology, 39(2), 136–161.

Chen, Z., Daito, N., & Gifford, J. L. (2016). Data review of transportation infrastructure public–private partnership: a meta-analysis. Transport Reviews, 36(2), 228–250.

Chin, J. T. (2021). The shifting role of public–private partnerships in vacant property redevelopment. Land Use Policy, 105, 105430.

Chowdhury, A. N., Chen, P., & Tiong, R. L. K. (2011). Analysing the structure of public–private partnership projects using network theory. Construction Management and Economics, 29(3), 247–260.

Combs, J. G., Crook, T. R., & Rauch, A. (2018). Meta-analytic research in management: contemporary approaches, unresolved controversies, and rising standards. Journal of Management Studies, 56(1), 1–18.

Cruz, C. O., & Marques, R. C. (2014). Theoretical considerations on quantitative PPP viability analysis. Journal of Management in Engineering, 30(1), 122–126.

Cui, C., Liu, Y., Hope, A., & Wang, J. (2018). Review of studies on the public–private partnerships (PPP) for infrastructure projects. International Journal of Project Management, 36(5), 773–794.

De Castro e Silva Neto, D., Cruz, C. O., Rodrigues, F., & Silva, P. (2016). Bibliometric analysis of PPP and PFI literature: overview of 25 years of research. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 142(10), 06016002.

De Marco, A., Mangano, G., & Narbaev, T. (2017). The influence of risk on the equity share of build-operate-transfer projects. Built Environment Project and Asset Management, 7(1), 45–58.

De Pinho Campos, K., Norman, C. D., & Jadad, A. R. (2011). Product development public-private partnerships for public health: a systematic review using qualitative data. Social Science and Medicine, 73(7), 986–994.

Denney, A. S., & Tewksbury, R. (2013). How to write a literature review. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 24(2), 218–234.

Dewulf, G., & Garvin, M. J. (2020). Responsive governance in PPP projects to manage uncertainty. Construction Management and Economics, 38(4), 383–397.

Garrett, H., & Kate, M. M. (2014). Public-private partnerships for purposes of federal real property management (CRS reports). In Federal real property management: partnership options and enhanced use leasing. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Glass, G. V. (1976). Primary, secondary, and meta-analysis of research. Educational Researcher, 5(10), 3.

Guarini, M. R., Morano, P., Micheli, A., & Sica, F. (2021). Public-private negotiation of the increase in land or property value by urban variant: an analytical approach tested on a case of real estate development. Sustainability, 13, 10958.

Guo, K., Zhang, L., & Wang, T. (2021). Concession period optimisation in complex projects under uncertainty: a public–private partnership perspective. Construction Management and Economics, 39(2), 156–172.

Gupta, A., & Tiwari, P. (2022). An analysis of land and property development models, and stakeholders: a case of National Capital Region, India. Land Use Policy, 117, 106110.

Harty, C., & Leiringer, R. (2017). The futures of construction management research. Construction Management and Economics, 35(7), 392–403.

He, Q., Wang, G., Luo, L., Shi, Q., Xie, J., & Meng, X. (2017). Mapping the managerial areas of Building Information Modeling (BIM) using scientometric analysis. International Journal of Project Management, 35(4), 670–685.

Hedges, L., & Olkin, I. (1985). Statistical methods for meta-analysis. In Statistical methods for meta-analysis. Elsevier.

Hodge, G. A., & Greve, C. (2007). Public-private partnerships: an international performance review. Public Administration Review, 67(3), 545–558.

Hodge, G. A., & Greve, C. (2017). On public–private partnership performance. Public Works Management & Policy, 22(1), 55–78.

Hodge, G., & Greve, C. (2010). Public-private partnerships: governance scheme or language game? Australian Journal of Public Administration, 69(Suppl. 1), S8–S22.

Howard, G. S., Cole, D. A., & Maxwell, S. E. (1987). Research productivity in psychology based on publication in the journals of the American Psychological Association. American Psychologist, 42(11), 975–986.

Jayasena, N. S., Chan, D. W. M., & Kumaraswamy, M. (2020). A systematic literature review and analysis towards developing PPP models for delivering smart infrastructure. Built Environment Project and Asset Management, 11(1), 121–137.

Ke, Y., Wang, S., Chan, A. P., & Cheung, E. (2009). Research trend of public-private partnership in construction journals. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 135(10), 1076–1086.

Kuhn, T. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. University of Chicago Press.

Kumar, A., Srivastava, V., Tabash, M. I., & Chawda, D. (2022). Profitability determinants of infrastructure public private partnerships (PPPs): empirical evidence from Indian data. Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, 27(1), 91–111.

Kumar, S., Pandey, N., & Haldar, A. (2020). Twenty years of public management review (PMR): a bibliometric overview. Public Management Review, 22(12), 1876–1896.

Kwak, Y. H., Chih, Y., & Ibbs, C. W. (2009). Towards a comprehensive understanding of public private partnerships for infrastructure development. California Management Review, 51(2), 51–78.

Liu, J., Love, P. E. D., Smith, J., Regan, M., & Sutrisna, M. (2014). Public-private partnerships: a review of theory and practice of performance measurement. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 63(4), 499–512.

Marsilio, M., Cappellaro, G., & Cuccurullo, C. (2011). The intellectual structure of research into PPPS: a bibliometric analysis. Public Management Review, 13(6), 763–782.

Meng, Q., & Lu, Z. (2017). Quantitative analyses of highway franchising under build-operate-transfer scheme: critical review and future research directions. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 102, 105–123.

Narbaev, T., De Marco, A., & Orazalin, N. (2020). A multi-disciplinary meta-review of the public–private partnerships research. Construction Management and Economics, 38(2), 109–125.

Oraee, M., Hosseini, M. R., Papadonikolaki, E., Palliyaguru, R., & Arashpour, M. (2017). Collaboration in BIM-based construction networks: a bibliometric-qualitative literature review. International Journal of Project Management, 35(7), 1288–1301.

Osei-Kyei, R., & Chan, A. P. C. (2015). Review of studies on the critical success factors for public-private partnership (PPP) projects from 1990 to 2013. International Journal of Project Management, 33(6), 1335–1346.

Osei-Kyei, R., & Chan, A. P. C. (2016). Developing transport infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa through public–private partnerships: policy practice and implications. Transport Reviews, 36(2), 170–186.

Osei-Kyei, R., & Chan, A. P. C. (2018). Stakeholders’ perspectives on the success criteria for public-private partnership projects. International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 22(2), 131–142.

Osei-Kyei, R., Chan, A. P. C., Javed, A. A., & Ameyaw, E. E. (2017). Critical success criteria for public-private partnership projects: international experts’ opinion. International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 21(1), 87–100.

Padalkar, M., & Gopinath, S. (2016). Six decades of project management research: thematic trends and future opportunities. International Journal of Project Management, 34(7), 1305–1321.

Pagoni, E. G., & Georgiadis, P. (2020). System dynamics approaches to public-private partnerships: a literature review. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 37(2), 277–291.

Pinz, A., Roudyani, N., & Thaler, J. (2018). Public–private partnerships as instruments to achieve sustainability-related objectives: the state of the art and a research agenda. Public Management Review, 20(1), 1–22.

Pollack, J., & Adler, D. (2015). Emergent trends and passing fads in project management research: a scientometric analysis of changes in the field. International Journal of Project Management, 33(1), 236–248.

Price, D. J. D. S. (1963). Little science, big science. In Little science, big science. Columbia University Press.

Pu, W., Xu, F., & Marques, R. C. (2021). A bibliometric and meta-analysis of studies on public–private partnership in China. Construction Management and Economics, 39(9), 773–789.

Qasim, M. (2017). Sustainability and wellbeing: a scientometric and bibliometric review of the literature. Journal of Economic Surveys, 31(4), 1035–1061.

Raadschelders, J. C. N. (2010). Identity without boundaries: public administration’s canon(s) of integration. Administration and Society, 42(2), 131–159.

Roehrich, J. K., Lewis, M. A., & George, G. (2014). Are public-private partnerships a healthy option? A systematic literature review. Social Science and Medicine, 113, 110–119.

Sarmento, J. M., & Renneboog, L. (2016). Anatomy of public-private partnerships: their creation, financing and renegotiations. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(1), 94–122.

Sartal, A., González-Loureiro, M., & Vázquez, X. H. (2021). Meta-analyses in management: what can we learn from clinical research? Business Research Quarterly, 24(1), 91–111.

Serenko, A. (2013). Meta-analysis of scientometric research of knowledge management: discovering the identity of the discipline. Journal of Knowledge Management, 17(5), 773–812.

Seuring, S., & Müller, M. (2008). From a literature review to a conceptual framework for sustainable supply chain management. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16(15), 1699–1710.

Sherratt, F., Sherratt, S., & Ivory, C. (2020). Challenging complacency in construction management research: the case of PPPs. Construction Management and Economics, 38(12), 1086–1100.

Shi, J., Duan, K., Wu, G., Zhang, R., & Feng, X. (2020). Comprehensive metrological and content analysis of the public–private partnerships (PPPs) research field: a new bibliometric journey. Scientometrics, 124(3), 2145–2184.

Sidorova, A., Evangelopoulos, N., Valacich, J. S., & Ramakrishnan, T. (2008). Uncovering the intellectual core of the information systems discipline. MIS Quarterly, 32(3), 467–482.

Song, J., Li, Y., Feng, Z., & Wang, H. (2019). Cluster analysis of the intellectual structure of PPP research. Journal of Management in Engineering, 35(1), 04018053.

Song, J., Zhang, H., & Dong, W. (2016). A review of emerging trends in global PPP research: analysis and visualization. Scientometrics, 107(3), 1111–1147.

South, A., Eriksson, K., & Levitt, R. (2018). How infrastructure public–private partnership projects change over project development phases. Project Management Journal, 49(4), 62–80.

Tanczos, K., & Kong, G. S. (2001). A review of appraisal methodologies of feasibility studies done by public private partnership in road project development. Periodica Polytechnica Transportation Engineering, 29(1–2), 71–81.

Tang, L. Y., Shen, Q., & Cheng, E. W. L. (2010). A review of studies on Public-Private Partnership projects in the construction industry. International Journal of Project Management, 28(7), 683–694.

Torchia, M., Calabrò, A., & Morner, M. (2015). Public–private partnerships in the health care sector: a systematic review of the literature. Public Management Review, 17(2), 236–261.

Tsai, C. C., & Wen, M. L. (2005). Research and trends in science education from 1998 to 2002: a content analysis of publication in selected journals. International Journal of Science Education, 27(1), 3–14.

Ullah, F., Ayub, B., Siddiqui, S. Q., & Thaheem, M. J. (2016). A review of public-private partnership: critical factors of concession period. Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, 21(3), 269–300.

United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations General Assembly.

van Marrewijk, A., Clegg, S. R., Pitsis, T. S., & Veenswijk, M. (2008). Managing public-private megaprojects: paradoxes, complexity, and project design. International Journal of Project Management, 26(6), 591–600.

Van Raan, A. F. J. (1997). Scientometrics: state-of-the-art. Scientometrics, 38(1), 205–218.

Van Wee, B., & Banister, D. (2016). How to write a literature review paper? Transport Reviews, 36(2), 278–288.

Wang, H., Xiong, W., Wu, G., & Zhu, D. (2018). Public–private partnership in public administration discipline: a literature review. Public Management Review, 20(2), 293–316.

Wang, N. (2014). Private finance initiative as a new way to manage public facilities: a review of literature. Facilities, 32, 584–605.

Wang, N., & Ma, M. (2021). Public–private partnership as a tool for sustainable development – what literatures say? Sustainable Development, 29(1), 243–258.

Widdus, R. (2001). Public-private partnerships for health: their main targets, their diversity, and their future directions. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 79(8), 713–720.

Wohlin, C. (2014). Guidelines for snowballing in systematic literature studies and a replication in software engineering. In ACM International Conference Proceeding Series (pp. 1–10), London, England United Kingdom.

Yang, Y., Hou, Y., & Wang, Y. (2013). On the development of public-private partnerships in transitional economies: an explanatory framework. Public Administration Review, 73(2), 301–310.

Yi, W., & Chan, A. P. (2014). Critical review of labor productivity research in construction journals. Journal of Management in Engineering, 30(2), 214–225.

Zhang, S., Chan, A. P. C., Feng, Y., Duan, H., & Ke, Y. (2016). Critical review on PPP Research – a search from the Chinese and International Journals. International Journal of Project Management, 34(4), 597–612.

Zhang, Y. C., Luo, W. Z., Shan, M., Pan, D. W., & Mu, W. J. (2020a). Systematic analysis of PPP research in construction journals: from 2009 to 2019. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 27(10), 3309–3339.

Zhang, Y., Hou, W., & Qian, Y. (2020b). A dynamic simulation model for financing strategy management of infrastructure PPP projects. International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 24(6), 441–455.

Zheng, X., Le, Y., Chan, A. P., Hu, Y., & Li, Y. (2016). Review of the application of social network analysis (SNA) in construction project management research. International Journal of Project Management, 34(7), 1214–1225.