The History of European Infrastructure Finance

Faced with large fiscal deficits, many European governments are looking to forms of public private partnership (PPP) contracts as the way to deliver on promises to improve infrastructure providing public services whilst avoiding excessive public sector debt. In many countries, privatisation and regulation models have been applied to network industries for several years.Long-term cycles of public and private ownership and investment in infrastructure can be seen across different European nations. Concession contracts can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, were widely used by the Romans, and given a modern form under the Napoleonic code. Most 18th and 19th century infrastructure (canals, railways, telegraphs, water supply, gas, electricity) was built using private capital, frequently with explicit or implicit public subsidies or other support. Many were subsequently taken into public ownership. The history of different infrastructure services illustrates how the nexus between technological innovation, infrastructure services and finance may develop in a variety of contexts. The debates at the time, alternative solutions and the long-term outcomes for the various actors involved, all have a resonance today.

Completed

Period: 

2011 to 2015

European Investment Bank - University Research Action

  • The History of European Infrastructure Finance

Faced with large fiscal deficits, many European governments are looking to forms of public private partnership (PPP) contracts as the way to deliver on promises to improve infrastructure providing public services whilst avoiding excessive public sector debt. In many countries, privatisation and regulation models have been applied to network industries for several years.Long-term cycles of public and private ownership and investment in infrastructure can be seen across different European nations. Concession contracts can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, were widely used by the Romans, and given a modern form under the Napoleonic code. Most 18th and 19th century infrastructure (canals, railways, telegraphs, water supply, gas, electricity) was built using private capital, frequently with explicit or implicit public subsidies or other support. Many were subsequently taken into public ownership. The history of different infrastructure services illustrates how the nexus between technological innovation, infrastructure services and finance may develop in a variety of contexts. The debates at the time, alternative solutions and the long-term outcomes for the various actors involved, all have a resonance today. In this context, the EIB invites research proposals which seek to:

  • explore the longer term macro trends in infrastructure finance, the outcomes in terms of sustainable public service improvements, and their relevance to contemporary policy debates
  • develop case studies of technological and financial innovation in specific infrastructure projects and sectors, particularly those of a pan-European nature
  • catalogue and analyse the history of different public, private and mixed financing schemes for infrastructure construction and operation across different sectors and within different legal and national policy frameworks.

Applications are invited from European Universities, either alone or in partnership, proposing a research programme on the above topic. Under the EIBURS programme, the successful applicant(s) will be eligible for a grant of up to 300 000 euros over a 3-year period to fund new research on areas of European infrastructure finance history relevant to current policy debates. Research proposals that take a quantitative and qualitative, cross-disciplinary approach (e.g. history, engineering, economics, finance) and involve collaboration between academics from different European countries are particularly encouraged.   The majority of funds should be used to employ new young researchers at PhD level to work on specific topics. Where relevant, the researchers may have an opportunity to collaborate with infrastructure sector experts at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. In addition, some funds should be used for dissemination events and to establish a network to connect experts on the history of particular infrastructure sectors in different countries.

 

Location

Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
University of Cantabria
Santander
39005 Cantabria
Spain

 

Contact

Give me a call at+34 942 201624

Email me at

 

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