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Captured by Business? Romanian Market Governance and the New Economic Elite


  • Young Patricia T

    (Rutgers University, New Brunswick and Piscataway)


In the 1990s, there was a lot of concern in studies of post-communism about communist-era managers stalling institutional reforms due to their ability to gain long-term advantages through institutional capture. By influencing market governance rules (corporate governance, bankruptcy, competition laws), managers could protect and amplify initial economic gains from liberalization, entrenching economic inequality. Yet in the 2000s, even the laggards of transition have implemented significant market governance reforms and have enjoyed rapid economic growth. Moreover, business perceptions of state capture (from BEEPS) have dropped substantially. The paper examines this surprising turnaround with evidence from the Romanian case. I argue that contrary to expectations, business interests have failed to capture market governance institutions. In spite of benefiting from shady privatization deals and other advantages based on political connections, the new Romanian entrepreneurs were not threatened by sophisticated market governance laws. This argument based on the preferences of business actors is a necessary addition to explanations of institutional reforms that rely on international conditionality or on economic crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Young Patricia T, 2010. "Captured by Business? Romanian Market Governance and the New Economic Elite," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-40, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:12:y:2010:i:1:n:4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gamal Ibrahim, 2002. "Bye-bye central planning, hello market hiccups: institutional transition in Romania," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 105-118, January.
    2. Boris Pleskovic & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics 1999," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13839.
    3. World Bank, 2005. "Capital Markets and Non-bank Financial Institutions in Romania : Assessment of Key Issues and Recommendations for Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14867.
    4. Gould John A & Hetman Yaroslav, 2008. "Market Democracy Unleashed? Business Elites and the Crisis of Competitive Authoritarianism in Ukraine," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-35, September.
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