Parties, promiscuity and politicisation: business-political networks in Poland
McMenamin, Iain (2003) Parties, promiscuity and politicisation: business-political networks in Poland. Working Papers in International Studies Series. (Paper No. 2003-6). Centre for International Studies, Dublin City University, Ireland.
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Research on post-communist political economy has begun to focus on the interface between business and politics. It is widely agreed that informal networks rather than business associations dominate this interface, but there has been very little systematic research in this area. The
literature tends to assume that a politicised economy entails business-political networks which are structured by parties. Theoretically, this article distinguishes politicisation from party politicisation and argues that the two are unlikely to be found together in a post-communist context. Empirically, this paper uses elite survey data and qualitative interviews to explore networks of businesspeople and politicians in Poland. It finds substantial evidence against the popular idea that Polish politicians have business clienteles clearly separated from each other according to party loyalties. Instead, it argues that these politicians and businesspeople are promiscuous. Since there seems to be little that is unusual about the Polish case, this conclusion has theoretical, methodological, substantive and policy implications for other post-communist countries.
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