My name is John, and I'm an economist.
I've been working for about 10 years; mainly in infrastructure, but more generally around the interface between the public and private sectors in public service provision. I have worked most of my career in and around Indonesia, but have spent a reasonable amount of time working on these issues in Australia, New Zealand, Timor-Leste and a handful of other countries.
I have spent about equal amounts of time in private sector advisory and working for bilateral/multilateral donors. In private advisory, I have worked for the whole gamut of actors in the infrastructure space, governments, private parties, state-owned enterprises, regulators, think tanks, donors, industry associations, and so on.
The kinds of problems that I work on aren't new--governments have been thinking about how best to deliver services for their citizens for as long as there have been governments--but over the last half-century or so, there has been something of a convergence around the way that people think about some aspects of these problems. This definitely doesn't mean that there's an accepted "international best practice" way to develop infrastructure, but there is a shared vocabulary, and increasingly commonly understood models that actors can select between depending on the circumstances.
Great resources do exist for people trying to learn more about this body of knowledge, but the resources are diffuse, and most are targeted at people that are already expert in the field. Most of the people I know that work in the field learnt the same way that I learnt: by learning on the job at their bosses' knees, by casting about for resources when they come across novel problems, or by trying to muddle through by themselves.
This blog is intended to be a place for me to try and set out my understanding of this shared body of knowledge covering the economics of infrastructure, risk, public sector asset management, natural resources and that sort of thing. Where relevant, I plan to comment on particular projects, policies or events of the day that illustrate particular aspects of public sector economics. I'll be focusing mainly on Indonesia, because that's where I live, but I will be taking examples from all over the world, where I think they are interesting.
I'm planning on trying to write this blog in a way that would have been useful to an early-career me. I'll get technical now and then, but I'll still try to write about these subjects in a way that will be understandable to people with a non-technical background.
A very wise person once told me a maxim of blogging: no one likes a meta-blog. So, on that note, on to the real stuff!