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It’s Not Only Rents: Explaining the Persistence and Change of Neopatrimonialism in Indonesia


  • Nina Korte



Indonesia has long been associated with neopatrimonialism, corruption, collusion, and nepotism as the main modi operandi of politics, economics and public administration. Despite various measures and initiatives to fight these practises, little evidence for a significant decline can be found over the years. Rather, longitudinal analysis points to changes in the character of neopatrimonialism. Based on more than 60 in-depth interviews, focus-group discussions, and the analysis of both primary and secondary data, the aim of this article is, first, to describe the changes that have taken place, and, second, to investigate what accounts for these changes. Political economy concepts posit the amount and development of economic rents as the explanatory factor for the persistence and change of neopatrimonialism. This study’s findings, however, indicate that rents alone cannot explain what has taken place in Indonesia. Democratisation and decentralisation exert a stronger impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Nina Korte, 2011. "It’s Not Only Rents: Explaining the Persistence and Change of Neopatrimonialism in Indonesia," GIGA Working Paper Series 167, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:167

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Witold J. Henisz, 2002. "The institutional environment for infrastructure investment," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 355-389.
    2. Brunnschweiler, Christa N., 2008. "Cursing the Blessings? Natural Resource Abundance, Institutions, and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 399-419, March.
    3. Ross H. McLeod, 2010. "Institutionalized Public Sector Corruption:a Legacy of the Soeharto Franchise," Departmental Working Papers 2010-02, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    4. Segal, Paul, 2011. "Resource Rents, Redistribution, and Halving Global Poverty: The Resource Dividend," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 475-489, April.
    5. Budi Setiyono & Ross McLeod, 2010. "Civil society organisations' contribution to the anti-corruption movement in Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 347-370.
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    Economic Rents; Neopatrimonialism; Democratisation; Decentralisation; Indonesia;

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