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Clientelism and cartelization in post-communist Europe: the case of Romania

Volintiru, Clara (2016) Clientelism and cartelization in post-communist Europe: the case of Romania. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.1zi8cp4czf4r


The present thesis makes a twofold contribution to the existing literature. Firstly, it shows that clientelism complements cartelization, providing parties with stability in condition of weak mass mobilization. Secondly, it traces the specific mechanisms through which cartel parties channel public resources, within the institutional setting of the post-communist Europe. It provides an important extension to the cartel party literature in the context of new democracies. The main finding of this project is that cartel parties can survive and achieve stability through clientelistic distribution of benefits, both within, and outside their organisations. Furthermore, I find that cartelization generates a new model of clientelism, as public resources (e.g. procurement contracts) are also used to finance the party organisations, not only the clients. Through the in-depth case study of Romania, we can see that when political parties have little time to develop territorial networks and mobilization capacity, clientelism becomes an effective tool for establishing roots in society. The context of post-communist countries presents distinctive conditions for clientelistic linkages and the cartelization process. Multi-party systems in these countries have reappeared simultaneously with the institutions of the democratic state. Consequently, party-state interpenetration has been more profound, building upon previous legacies, as well as the permissive transitional circumstances. The present thesis analyses the following sequences of clientelistic exchanges: (1) internal party selection – patrons within the party organisations, (2) party patronage – political interference in public institutions, (3) politicization—political appointments in key positions of the Central Government (i.e. Senior Civil Servants), and finally (4) preferential resource allocation—public funding channelled through party networks. In addition to the chapters devoted to each of these clientelistic mechanisms, the thesis also contains a comparative chapter overseeing the challenges and opportunities for clientelism and cartelization in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Clara Volintiru
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Hopkin, Jonathan and Dimitrov, Vesselin

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