Autocracy, Corruption, the Economy, and the Return of State Capitalism 1

Masha Hedberg
Session Organizer:
Gerhard Schnyder
Thursday, 2 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
CLM.2.05 (Clement House)
One of the most striking features of the evolution of post-socialist countries and other emerging market economies in recent years has been the so called ‘return of state capitalism’. Many transition economies and developing countries seemed to increasingly embrace Western-style liberal market economic patterns during the 1990s and to move away from interventionist industrial policies that had marked many of these countries for most of the 20th century. By the early 2000s, many observers considered that the delegitimised and weakened states were going to continue to retreat from the economy, leaving managers and owners of large companies in charge of the economy (e.g. Martin 2002).

Since the 2000s, however, a marked reversal has taken place in many cases (cf. Child et al. 2012). Governments in various countries have to different extents wrestled back control over the economy from managers, private owners, and foreign companies and have started to adopt more interventionist policies. This phenomenon can be observed in countries as different as Argentina, Brazil, Russia, and Hungary.

These transformations have various and complex causes and equally complex consequences at the societal, political and company levels. Thus, patterns of clientelism have been fundamentally reshaped by the changing role of the state and the shifts in elite structures that it implied. This has had an important impact on electoral politics, distributional outcomes, and the way in which companies are managed in such situations.

This panel attempts to bring together a variety of papers from a range of different countries, which share however comparable experiences in terms of the ‘return of state capitalism’. The papers should contribute to either the study of clientelism/corruption, the management of firms under strong (autocratic) governments, the reshaping of institutional arrangements under interventionist states, or the consequences of ‘state capitalism’ for societies at large.


CHILD, John, Suzana B. RODRIGUES and Kenneth K-T. TSE. 2012. "The Dynamics of Influence in Corporate Co-Evolution",  Journal of Management Studies 49(7), 1246-1273.

MARTIN, R. 2002. "Politicized Managerial Capitalism: Enterprise Structures in Post-Socialist Central and Eastern Europe", Journal of Management Studies 39(6), 823-839.

Strong State, Weak Managers: How Hungarian Firms Cope with Autocracy
Dorottya Sallai, University of Greenwich; Gerhard Schnyder, King's College London