American Society of Civil Engineers


Drivers of Conflict in Developing Country Infrastructure Projects: Experience from the Water and Pipeline Sectors


by Hilary Schaffer Boudet, (Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford Univ., MC 5559, Stanford, CA 94304. E-mail: hilschaf@stanford.edu), Dilanka Chinthana Jayasundera, M.ASCE, (Independent Consultant, 30, Wickramasinghapura, Battaramulla, CO 10120, Sri Lanka. E-mail: dcjaya@stanfordalumni.org), and Jennifer Davis, (corresponding author), (Assistant Professor and Higgins-Magid Fellow, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford Univ.. MC 4020, Stanford, CA 94305 E-mail: jennadavis@stanford.edu)

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 137, No. 7, July 2011, pp. 498-511, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000333)

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Document type: Journal Paper
Section Heading: Project Planning and Design
Abstract: Despite the considerable scholarship focused on infrastructure investment in the developing world and the substantial sums of money spent each year on developing-country infrastructure, little attention has been given to understanding the drivers of conflict that shape the trajectory and cost structures of these massive investments. The manifestation of conflict among stakeholders in infrastructure projects ranges from the renegotiation of contract terms by project partners to popular protests among consumers of privatized services. The principal objective of this research is to identify combinations of country, project, and stakeholder factors that are associated with the emergence of legal and political conflict within natural gas and oil pipeline projects and water supply concessions and leases. The analysis includes data from 26 infrastructure projects spanning 31 countries and uses an analytical approach derived from Boolean algebra. Country-level characteristics, such as extent of democracy and rate of international NGO membership, are found to be important elements in the recipes for conflict among water supply projects but not for pipeline projects. Local impacts such as service price increases (water supply) and limited provision of oil and gas to the project host country (pipelines) are also important drivers of conflict for both subsectors. The involvement of one or more international financial institutions is also associated with the emergence of conflict in projects. Contrary to expectations, public consultation is associated with conflict in both subsectors. Overall, the study findings suggest that several factors associated with conflict in infrastructure projects can be minimized with careful project design.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Infrastructure
Water pipelines
Construction management
Partnerships
Fuzzy sets
Public participation
Conflict
Developing countries

Author Keywords:
Infrastructure
Pipelines
Water supply
Construction management
Public-private partnerships
Fuzzy sets
Public participation
Conflict
Developing countries