Politicization and competitiveness of business elites in Central and Eastern Europe: a comparison of Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary

Sat9  Apr09:00am(10 mins)
Teaching Room 6


István Kollai


While various academic descriptions define capitalist mode of production essentially as coordinated by impersonal bureaucracy and impersonal market exchange, several conceptual attempts have been made to describe a kind of 'political capitalism' (M. Weber), in which some sort of personal coordination prevails between politics and the economy: i.e.. the business elite is embedded  in the political elite. Present study examines this political embeddedness of business elites within Central and Eastern European countries, namely in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, by highlighting the personal relationship of high-ranked entrepreneurs with local prime ministers. Data are provided by the content analysis of local political and business media reports. As a next step, the research compares the entrepreneurs' local political embeddedness with their companies' international embeddedness, based on content analysis of international business press. This form of international market embeddedness is considered here as measuring firm competitiveness, which approach is in tune with methodological solutions that address market competitiveness e.g. on the basis of expert opinions. As a result, different patterns of personalized business-politics collusion are revealed in the three countries, such as oligarchic, neo-patrimonial, patronage patterns as well as state capture, from which 'born-global' companies without political ties can be easily distinguished.

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