Type: Review
Pages: 6 | Words: 1694
Reading Time: 8 Minutes

The article Public-Private Partnership? Shifting Paradigms of Economic Governance in Ontario by Neil Bradford was published in 2003 and addressed a rather topical issue of introducing new forms of public-private partnerships in Canada under two different governments. The author of the article conducts a comparative analysis of the governmental measures taken in the period of 1990s aimed at introducing new economic and social relations in the province of Ontario. The structure of the article is clearly aimed at facilitating the comprehension of the material as its subsections address various points of the discussed issue. The overall impression from the article is that it is a comprehensive and thorough analysis of the policies in Ontario introduced by two differently oriented governments. The use of credible sources and the appeal to authority make the information appear more trustworthy and persuasive. The author exploits various techniques to make the text cohesive and coherent, which contributes to the logic and smooth flow of the article. This paper is an attempt to of the critical analysis of the Bradford’s article. Thus, it will contain a short summary of the article, analysis of its strengths and weaknesses, a short review of the author’s writing style, and the general assessment of the presented data.

Short Summary of the Article

NeilBradford attempts to conduct “a contextual, comparative analysis of two economic innovation strategies” launched in the 1990s in Ontario.He clearly sets out the purpose of such an analysis that is “to advance the understanding of governance and public-private partnerships”.However, the author does not simply review the policies of the studied timeframe, but tries to compare two different approaches to the public-private partnerships in the province launched by the then-elected governments. Such a comparative approach is aimed at proving the author’s argument concerning “the existence of two distinctive economic governance paradigms”.

Both governments attempted to introduce such policies that would make the public-private partnerships flourish in the region and benefit the entire community. However, their approaches to the issue were drastically different. The NDP government supported a “neoliberal partnership paradigm”.The NDP government policies were launched in the period of 1990-1995. Their primary target was the development of sectoral social partnerships. With this aim, the following bodies were established: the Premier’s Council, the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board, and the Sectoral Partnership Fund. The NDP tried to implement innovations in the region and launch programs that would be exceptionally beneficial in the future. Therefore, they rejected the “dirigiste modes” of bureaucratic intervention and promoted communication and cooperation between all stakeholders.This policy failed either due to its inappropriateness in the region or because it lacked a sufficient amount of time for its proper implementation and successful functioning.

The Conservative government won two successive elections, hence having a longer timeframe to launch its vision of the provincial public-private partnerships. The government did not try to invent new institutions in the region as it based its policies on the already existing associations, mainly the business ones. Various government incentives were issued to promote greater private investments into the public domain. The policy of the Conservative government is often described as the one encouraging “urban growth machines”.The urban infrastructure was partially financed by local economic clusters, the formation of which was urged by the provincial state. The Conservative government established a number of bodies and launched several initiatives with the intent to supervise and coordinate public-private partnerships, for example, the Ontario Jobs and Investment Board, the Ontario SuperBuild Corporation, the Millennium Partnerships Initiative, the Smart Growth Initiative, etc. On the whole, the policy concerning public-private partnerships introduced by the Conservative government was more successful as it was better suited to the needs and circumstances of the region as well as it had more time to be worked out and implemented.

Structure of the Article. Cohesion and Coherency.

The article is structured into five constituent parts: introduction; Constructing the learning region: Two paradigms of provincial economic governance; Facilitating sectoral social partnerships, Ontario 1990-1995; Retooling urban growth machines, Ontario 1995-2001; Discussion: Paradigm shift and bounded innovation in Ontario; and Conclusion. The structure facilitates the comprehension of information as it comes in chunks. Logical division of the presented material is essential for such kinds of articles, which has been successfully exploited by the author. Throughout the whole article, the author constantly compares and contrasts measures and policies launched by the NDP government and the Conservative government, which serves the initially proclaimed purpose and argument of the paper.

The author himself gives a short outline of the article in the introduction, which activates the readers’ prognosticating function. The author starts his study with the introduction of relevant concepts and terms. Policies are assessed from the perspective of three main points: participation in the partnerships, assigned public purposes, and geographic scale or institutional level. In order to conduct the comparative analysis of the governmental measures, the author evaluates the viability of the experiments, their strengths and weaknesses as well as the obstacle each government encountered. The credibility of the information is reached through referencing relevant sources. The author exploits secondary and primary sources using in-text citations. Besides, some sources are direct quotations of government officials and governmental documents, which contributes to the persuasiveness of the presented data. The argument of the article is supported by sufficient evidence. The author exploits a table to make the differences between two governmental approaches to public-private relationships more obvious. The body of the article also abounds in numbers and figures used for the description and analysis of the studied economic governance paradigms. Withal, the evidence presented to support the argument is strong and persuasive. All used secondary and primary sources are properly referenced and the page number is given. Thus, the author gives the opportunity to research the issue more extensively if necessary. The article speaks to a rather large body of literature on the topic. However, there is no overabundance of quotes or sources.

Coherence of the article is reached through the logical flow of the presented information. The structure of the article is well-suited to the purpose of conducting a comparative analysis of two distinct economic governance paradigms. Besides, coherence is achieved thanks to the cohesion of the text. The latter is possible due to the use of various connectors and conjunctions as well as spatial and temporal deictic markers. Some of them are objective while others express the author’s subjective evaluation, for example, “however” and “not surprisingly”. The correct use of cohesive means adds to the smooth flow of the presented information, thus making the article readable and comprehensive. The two most frequently used connective means are “however” and “and”. The sentences are either complex with several subordinates or simple extended by adverbial and gerundial constructions. It is a common phenomenon for this type of scientific articles.

Strengths of the Article

The first and most essential strength of the article is that the issue it raises is relevant and useful. The article was published in 2003 and the timeframe it encompasses ends with the year 2001, thus making the results of the study up-to-date and valid. Neil Bradford addresses the topical problem of successful transformation of the public-private relationships in the province of Ontario. His insight into the historical development of these partnerships and the government’s influence on their emergence may have been useful at the time for further programs aimed at the prosperity of the community through private-public cooperation.

One more strength of the article is its clear structure that has been analyzed in the previous section of the paper. The author clearly states the purpose of the article that is then pursued throughout the entire text. The key argument is formulated in the beginning of the text, which enables the readers to follow the author’s thread of argumentation in subsequent parts of the article. The argument is supported by credible evidence taken from scientific secondary sources and such primary sources as governmental documents and officials’ statements. The body of the literature the author makes references to is extensive, yet relevant. There is no contradictory evidence in the article as the author logically makes conclusions. The objective data is distinguished from the author’s subjective evaluation and analysis through the exploitation of various introductory phrases. Cohesion and coherence facilitate the comprehension of the presented material.

Besides in-text references, the author exploits some endnotes that expand on some points mentioned in the text. There are five endnotes in the end of the article. Hence, Neil Bradford does not overuse them. All abbreviations used in the text have been initially explained in the text, thus readers have no difficulty in understanding their meaning. Some points that the author wants to emphasize are italicized, hence being eye-catching and memorable. Moreover, the author makes use of such stylistic means as rhetorical questions in order to draw the readers’ attention to particular parts of the article and to promote their critical thinking on the issue.

Weaknesses of the Article

On the whole, the article seems to be expertly written, yet it still has some minor shortcomings. Thus, the author states his intention to compare two distinct economic governance paradigms. Nonetheless, the greater part of the article is devoted to the sheer description of the governmental approaches and not to their comparison. However, this shortcoming is compensated by separate instances of comparison inserted in the text.

The author mainly uses complex sentences or complex syntactic structures, which sometimes makes the comprehension more difficult, yet it may be connected with the complexity of the raised issue as well. There is only one table in the article. The comparative character of the article seems to may have been appropriately contributed by a greater number of various tables and graphs. It might have made the information more accessible to the readers, hence broadening the target audience.


The article Public-Private Partnership? Shifting Paradigms of Economic Governance in Ontario by Neil Bradford raises a topical issue in the province. The retrospective insight into the matter allows the writer to make some relevant conclusions. The text targets the audience of economists and governmental officials involved in the matter, yet it is also comprehensible for non-specialists due to the author’s explicit writing style. The strengths of the article clearly outweigh its shortcomings, thus enabling to assess it as an expertly written scientific text.

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