European Investment Bank Institute (EIB Institute)

The aim of the research project “Cost/Benefit Analysis in the Research, Development and Innovation Sector” is to develop and test a cost-benefit analysis model for evaluating the research, development and innovation (RDI) infrastructure projects. The developed model will enable decision-makers in funding agencies to assess the potential future net social benefits generated by a research infrastructure and the uncertainty and risks associated to it. The theoretical model will be tested by carrying out a CBA on two selected case studies, i.e. the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the Hadrontherapy Centre of Pavia.
The project is carried out by a consortium led by the Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods (DEMM) of the University of Milan, and including the Departments of Physics of the University of Milan and the independent research centre CSIL – Centre for Industrial Studies. The consortium has been selected through an open call for proposals. See team for more information on the project team. The project is financed by the European Investment Bank Institute (EIB Institute) in the frame of its EIB University Research Sponsorship Programme (EIBURS), which provides grants to EU University Research Centres working on research topics and themes of major interest to the Bank.


Despite the large-scale privatizations in the last two decades (Bognetti and Oberman, 2008), governments, either at national or local level, still own or partly-own a wide range of organizations providing public services. For several reasons, privatization policies have left under the control of government a core of public enterprises. Recently, some episodes have also been reversing the previous policy trend. The question arises: how should governments define the missions, the performance criteria, and the governance mechanisms of the public enterprises in a changing environment?
After a preliminary discussion (meeting in Paris, June 23, 2011), and a subsequent meeting (Valencia, September 27, 2011), the CIRIEC Scientific Commission on Public Services/Public Enterprises has decided to launch an international research project on the future of public enterprises. The ambition of the project should be to revive the subject of public enterprise as an important field of analysis in the perspective of public economics and of social sciences in general.

CIRIEC call for papers on The Future of Public Enteprise

Web Site

EIBURS – The History of European Infrastructure Finance 

A project supported by the European Investment Bank

The objectives of this project are particularly focused on the questions of how infrastructure provisioning and financing have been realised in different time periods across diverse regions and under different financial, socio-economic and regulatory regimes in the European context. Over the long-term, the finance of infrastructure has been organised in a myriad of different ways from being financed by fully private to fully public Institutions. Though no country is completely alike, there have been considerable commonalities across the European context. Our research project aims to collect and analyse data on infrastructure finance over the long-term, and on this basis identify phases in finance infrastructure across sectors, countries, financial as well as other regulatory and socio-economic institutions. This goes along with the analyses of the outcomes of public engagement in public infrastructure provisioning in Europe as well as with an identification and exploration of European best practice examples for infrastructure financing that provide lessons learnt for contemporary policy debates. The reserach network includes the Universities of Weimar, LMV Munich, Cantabria, and Milan.

The new public enterprise – NewPEn

A project supported by the Italian Ministry of Education – MIUR (Ministero dell’Istruzione dell’Università e della Ricerca)

The project is structured in three main steps. First, a theoretical analysis of the public provision of services of general interest.
Second, an empirical analysis on the role of the public enterprise in the provision of SGI, on the comparison among private, mixed and public firms and the analysis of the effects of past reforms, with a focus on relevant case studies. Finally, based on the results reached in the first two parts of the research program, the proposal of possible reforms of the public enterprise in EU countries.

The four research units (Universities of Milano, Pavia, Udine, Politecnica delle Marche) with the collaboration of an international network of economists will closely collaborate to produce the final output of the research.

There will be a dedicated interactive web-space for the research network, joint seminars, and international workshops co-organized by the four units.

   Study for a service contract on

The Inter-Relationship between the Structural Fund and the Provision of Services of General Interest and Services of General Economic Interest, and the Potential for Cross-Border Service Delivery

for the European Parliament

Services of general interest play a vital role and belong to the shared values of the Union, as is stated in Protocol N. 26 of the Treaty of the European Union.
Moreover, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in its Article 36, recognises access to services of general economic interest in its role of promoting social and territorial cohesion. Those services also contribute to the overall economic growth and development of the European Union, while enhancing general social welfare.

This study is expected to contribute to the general discussion, by providing the committee on Regional Development with a concise but comprehensive critical and detailed analysis of the definition, financing and provision of SGIs/SGEIs, with a particular focus on the use of Structural Funds and the opportunity of providing cross-border services.

Partners involved: Università degli Studi di Milano, DEAS – Department of Economics Business and Statistics; CSIL – Centre for Industrial Studies, Milan; CIRIEC International, Belgium; PPMI – Public Policy and Management Institute,Lithuania.

EIBURS – Public Investment under Budgetary Constraints in New Member States

A  project supported by the European Investment Bank

 The EIBURS project focuses on the arbitrage between fiscal policy targets, such as theMaastricht ceilings, and economic development objectives. In particular it focuses on the possible trade-offs and/or conflicts between economic targets and/or instruments in countries in the process of adopting the Euro (i.e. the New Member States).

The research objectives are:

1) The empirical analysis of investment returns and growth potential in the new member states

2) The assessment of the sustainability of public investment in the NMS, under a comprehensive public sector accounting

3) CBA rules under budgetary constraints, focussing particularly on some key planning parameters and shadow prices.

UPP – Understanding Privatisation Policy:

Political Economy and Welfare Effects

A European project supported by the Sixth Framework Programme

This project, coordinated by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), aims:

  • to study the political and institutional incentives and constraints affecting privatisation;
  • to analyse the interactions between private and public ownership and control of firms;
  • to evaluate the welfare effect of privatisation policies on consumers, taxpayers and shareholders;
  • to identify the most appropriate policies to make privatisation deliver the most desirable outcomes.

To address these objectives, the Project will use the tools of political economy and welfare analysis, starting from the premises that privatisation is a political decision taken by governments at national/sub-national level and it has important consequences on the welfare of several stakeholders in the economy (consumers, taxpayers, employees, and shareholders). The welfare effects of privatisation as perceived by different social groups are key element to establish the political sustainability of reform programmes, or the long-term reversal to public provision.

The Project will adopt a multidisciplinary approach, mobilising researchers from economics, finance, political science, and judicial disciplines working in five universities and three research institutions of five European countries, including a new accession country.

The Consortium of the UPP project is composed by 8 partners established in 5 European Members States

For more information, click on the UPP web site .


Privatisation is one of the main events of the economic history of the last decades. The privatisation record to date is impressive, both in developed and developing economies. Despite the relevance of the process and the extensive research recently carried out, several aspects of privatisation such as its determinants, methods, and economic and social implications warrant a systematic analysis and research efforts. Given the relevance of privatisation policy in the European context and in the markets for the services of general interest (SGI), it is imperative to analyse the record of privatisation and understand the causes behind failures in order to improve the process in the future.

To see all the project Click here

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