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Evaluating The Use Of Personal Connections To Bypass Formal Procedures: A Study Of Vrski In Republic Of Macedonia


  • C. Williams, Colin

    () (Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K.)

  • Bezeredi, Slavko

    (Institute of Public Finance, Zagreb, Croatia)


The soliciting of personal favours for and from others in order to circumvent formal procedures is a common practice across the world, variously known as guanxi, wasta, blat, and jeitinho. Until now, however, there have been no known empirical studies of this practice in South-East Europe. This paper fills that gap. The aim is to evaluate the extent to which personal connections are used to circumvent formal procedures, and who engages in such practices in FYR Macedonia. Reporting data collected from 2,014 face-to-face interviews undertaken in late 2015, the finding is that 35 per cent of respondents had used vrski during the year prior to the survey, particularly to gain access to health services and find a job. Using logistic regression analysis, the population groups significantly more likely to have used vrski are found to be younger people, higher income groups, those who also both supply and purchase undeclared work, live in rural areas or villages, while those in the Eastern, Southeastern and Pelagoni regions are less likely to do so than those in the Vardar region. The paper concludes by discussing the theoretical and policy implications along with the future research required.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Williams, Colin & Bezeredi, Slavko, 2017. "Evaluating The Use Of Personal Connections To Bypass Formal Procedures: A Study Of Vrski In Republic Of Macedonia," UTMS Journal of Economics, University of Tourism and Management, Skopje, Macedonia, vol. 8(2), pages 169-182.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:utmsje:0208

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jar-Der Luo, 2011. "Guanxi Revisited: An Exploratory Study of Familiar Ties in a Chinese Workplace," Management and Organization Review, The International Association for Chinese Management Research, vol. 7(2), pages 329-351, July.
    2. Barnett, Andy & Yandle, Bruce & Naufal, George, 2013. "Regulation, trust, and cronyism in Middle Eastern societies: The simple economics of “wasta”," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 41-46.
    3. Gordeev, Vladimir S. & Pavlova, Milena & Groot, Wim, 2014. "Informal payments for health care services in Russia: old issue in new realities," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 25-48, January.
    4. Michailova, Snejina & Worm, Verner, 2003. "Personal Networking in Russia and China:: Blat and Guanxi," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 509-519, August.
    5. Shou, Zhigang & Chen, Jun & Zhu, Wenting & Yang, Lihua, 2014. "Firm capability and performance in China: The moderating role of guanxi and institutional forces in domestic and foreign contexts," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 77-82.
    6. Ying Chen & Ray Friedman & Enhai Yu & Fubin Sun, 2011. "Examining the positive and negative effects of guanxi practices: A multi-level analysis of guanxi practices and procedural justice perceptions," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 715-735, December.
    7. Colin WILLIAMS & Ioana HORODNIC & Adrian HORODNIC, 2016. "Who is making informal payments for public healthcare in East-Central Europe? An evaluation of socio-economic and spatial variations," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 7, pages 49-61, June.
    8. Bingyuan Hsiung, 2013. "Guanxi: Personal connections in Chinese society," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 17-40, April.
    9. Williams Colin C. & Franic Josip, 2015. "Tackling the Propensity towards Undeclared Work: Some Policy Lessons from Croatia," South East European Journal of Economics and Business, Sciendo, vol. 10(1), pages 18-31, April.
    10. repec:bla:brjirl:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:83-111 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Kaitelidou, Daphne Ch. & Tsirona, Christina S. & Galanis, Petros A. & Siskou, Olga Ch. & Mladovsky, Philipa & Kouli, Eugenia G. & Prezerakos, Panagiotis E. & Theodorou, Mamas & Sourtzi, Panagiota A. &, 2013. "Informal payments for maternity health services in public hospitals in Greece," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 23-30.
    12. Luo, Jar-Der, 2011. "Guanxi Revisited: An Exploratory Study of Familiar Ties in a Chinese Workplace," Management and Organization Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 329-351, July.
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    More about this item


    informal economy; corruption; cronyism; nepotism; South-East Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P37 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Legal


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