Governance of large infrastructures: The cases of the canals of King Willem I, the Suez Canal and the Rhine-Main-Danube waterway: an application of new institutional economics

Thomas Jozeph Gerardus Weijnen

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The starting point for this thesis is that the institutional and governances structures in which a large infrastructure project is realised, is of importance for the final result. Efficient arrangements could save substantially on total investments in infrastructures. To study in this thesis the institutional and governance structures of different infrastructure projects new institutional economics (NIE) is applied to three cases of canal building. The three canal projects are the canals of the Dutch Merchant King Willem I in the first half of the nineteenth century in the Netherlands, the Suez Canal in the second half of the nineteenth century and the Rhine-Main-Danube waterway that was completed in 1993 in Bavaria, Germany. The central research question is: Is it possible to determine from new institutional economics the characteristics of an efficient governance structure for investments in large infrastructures and for the exploitation of these large infrastructures? To answer this question transaction cost economics (TCE) of Oliver Williamson and property rights theory was used. The dissertation consists of three parts. First a description is given of the NIE, TCE and property rights theory. In the second part of the thesis an analytical scheme was constructed that was applied to the three canal projects. The third part is formed by the three case studies. Here the research focuses on the history of the three canals and the identification of the relevant governance structures. As a general conclusion for this thesis, the central research question can be answered positively. On the basis of the application of the analytical scheme, designed in this thesis, it turned out that it is possible to determine from TCE and property rights theory, the efficient governance structures, in a TCE sense, for investments in large infrastructures.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Boorsma, Peter B., Supervisor
  • van Zanden, J.L., Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date17 Sept 2010
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3072-9
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2010

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