Graham Thrower

‌Graham Thrower -


PhD Title:

The Marketisation of Infrastructure: The Enmeshment of the Qualitative State and Variegated Capital


PhD Project Details:

This research examines contemporary financialised infrastructure markets, and how they disclose the evolution of previously defined roles for public and private actors.  It presents empirical research based on engagement with public and private institutional investors that challenges orthodox public-private binaries, and presents a more nuanced and geographically promiscuous reality of infrastructure investment.


It builds on O’Neill’s (2004) proposition of the qualitative state as an engaged and active multi-faceted actor, and critical market maker; but importantly, takes this concept further using emergent analysis based on interviews with government agencies, Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs), Public Sector Pension Funds (PSPFs), Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFIs), and their private institutional capital counterparts; private equity firms, and infrastructure funds.


The research focus is the uniquely problematic asset class that is financialised infrastructure, and how the marketisation of everyday utility services represents a locus where the qualitative state meets variegated private capital.  Utilising the perspectives of economic sociology and international political economy this paper examines the construction of these public-private markets, the fragmenting of the moral obligation of the state to provide, the governance consequences of a financialised infrastructure base, and the potential for national, regional and urban scale economic arbitrage suggested by insurgent public-private investment models.



Prof Andy Pike

Dr Oliver Heidrich

Dr Jane Gibbon