Event 14 Feb 1000-1200 GWU Getting Complex Projects to Work — Transaction Cost Economics

Economics/True Cost

Getting Complex Projects to Work: Short, Medium and Long-Term

By Neil E. Boyle

The George Washington University
University Seminar on Reflexive Systems
Thursday, February 14, 2013 from 10am – 12pm
Funger Hall, Room 620
2201 G Street NW


This presentation will discuss three alignment mechanisms that improve direct infrastructure investments and public-private partnerships in developing countries. The theory and methods are based on Transaction Cost Economics (TCE), which is an alliance of law, economics, and organization theory. TCE is a microanalytics tool that improves project design and implementation because they focus on the full relations between a host government and a foreign investor. Relations between principals are referred to as the “transaction,” which arises as the buyers and sellers reach agreement on the terms of their exchange and hedge against perceived contract hazards. A microanalytic focus on the principals’ incentive structures in the context of their institutional and governance environments provides actionable insights and promotes more successful project implementation outcomes. In the framework of TCE (Williamson, 2005), the systems theory and method of Umpleby (2010:5) combine to contribute to this understanding.[1]

Neil Boyle spent twenty years in World Bank senior management, 10 years in various posts in the U.S. Agency for International Development, and 10 years as an independent contractor. He is expert in infrastructure development, business and industry, corporate and project finance, and public and private sector policy and management reform in over 12 countries in four of the world’s major regions. With the U.S. Agency for International Development, he was their Trade and Investment Policy Advisor for the Philippines; Director of Economic Growth for Kosovo; and Regional Trade Advisor for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Southern Trade Hub in Gaborone, Botswana, which serves the 18 countries in the Southern Cone of Africa. He has consulted with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) (Philippines, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (Pakistan and India), the Department of Public Works and Highways (Philippines), the World Bank (Mozambique), and a number of private firms. From approximately 1974 to 1976 he worked as an independent contractor assisting with the development of Community Economic Development Corporations in various locations in the US.  From 1970 to 1974 he directed Peace Corps training for Brazil. From 1964 to 1968 he was Chief-of-Party for the USAID funded Rural Industrial Technical Assistance (RITA) Project in the state of Alagoas, Brazil, a project to economically develop commercial centers in the nine State’s interior drought area of northeast Brazil by developing wholly-owned and operated Brazilian small and medium scale industries.


[1]. Williamson, Oliver.2005. Why Law, Economics, and Organization, UC Berkeley; and Umpleby, Stuart, 2010. Graduate Programs for Developing Countries, (Wash. DC, GWU, USRS): 5

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