That’s always the case with “public private partnerships,” as they’re known — enterprises in which government contracts with private companies, not to provide a basic government service, but to promote some allegedly beneficial economic end. So, for instance, a city pays the lion’s share of a baseball stadium in the hopes of “creating jobs” or “revitalizing” an area; or the state pays for a research facility in the hopes of attracting jobs connected to the “knowledge economy.”

How Do You Know When Public-Private Partnerships Pay Off?