New York City's Public-Private Partnerships

Client: Citizens Union
Faculty: Charles Brecher
Team: Madeline Labadie, Michael Leone, Daniel Lipsky-Karasz, Moneeza Maredia, Patrick McClellan
Year: 2013

Despite their increasing prevalence in funding and guiding public policies, there has never been an attempt to thoroughly document the scope and universe of public-private partnerships in New York City. Citizens Union, a government watchdog group founded in 1897, raised concerns regarding the transparency and democratic accountability of these nonprofits. The Capstone team engaged in a three-step project. First, the team assembled a comprehensive inventory of nearly 200 public-private partnerships in New York City, including financial data over a three-year time period and information on their links to city government. Second, the team engaged in a case-study analysis of six specific public-private partnerships to gain a deeper understanding of their operations and their role in policymaking. Finally, the team made recommendations for improving the transparency and accountability of public-private partnerships, and limiting the potential for donors and political influences to create ethical conflicts.