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Runaway State-Building

Patronage Politics and Democratic Development

Conor O'Dwyer

Publication Year: 2006

Here, Conor O'Dwyer introduces the phenomenon of runaway state-building as a consequence of patronage politics in underdeveloped, noncompetitive party systems. Analyzing the cases of three newly democratized nations in Eastern Europe—Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia—O’Dwyer argues that competition among political parties constrains patronage-led state expansion. O’Dwyer uses democratization as a starting point, examining its effects on other aspects of political development. Focusing on the link between electoral competition and state-building, he is able to draw parallels between the problems faced by these three nations and broader historical and contemporary problems of patronage politics—such as urban machines in nineteenth-century America and the Philippines after Marcos. This timely study provides political scientists and political reformers with insights into points in the democratization process where appropriate intervention can minimize runaway state-building and cultivate efficient bureaucracy within a robust and competitive democratic system.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


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p. v

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

Patronage politics is a phenomenon as important as it is difficult to research. In new democracies, such as those in Eastern Europe, Latin America, East Asia, and Africa, it is a particularly pressing problem because these countries often already face problems of “stateness” and performance legitimacy. Yet, at a time when even political conservatives have come to recognize the importance...

List of Acronyms

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pp. xiii-xv

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pp. 1-11

As democratization sweeps across new parts of the globe—from Latin America to Africa, Eastern Europe to East Asia—it is hard not to be struck by the variety and diversity of the world’s new democracies. Their political culture, path of democratic transition, previous democratic experience, and level of economic development are just a few of the differences that contribute to their conspicuous diversity. Yet...

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1 The Concept and Causes of Runaway State-Building

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pp. 12-34

This chapter lays out the theoretical framework driving the comparisons at the core of this book. It first presents the broad outlines of runaway state-building in the core case studies: Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. More detailed measures are set forth in Chapter 3. Before presenting a model linking party competition to patronage politics, the focus of Chapter 2, the...

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2 Constraining Government Patronage: Different Logics of Party Competition

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pp. 35-64

Robust and institutionalized party competition is critical if new democracies with unconsolidated states are to constrain patronage politics and avoid runaway state-building. The state-building trajectories of postcommunist countries have diverged widely, and this divergence traces back to the logic of party competition. Illustrating this process, this chapter shows...

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3 The Runaway State-Building Phenomenon: Patronage Politics and Bureaucratic Rationalization

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pp. 65-99

During the campaign for Poland’s 1997 parliamentary elections, Marian Krzaklewski, the leader of the Solidarity trade union, promised some 4,000 of his key supporters positions in the state administration if elected. Krzaklewski’s promise was surprising not for its substance but for its brazen articulation of an open secret of Poland’s new democratic politics—the prevalence...

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4 Remaking the Regions: The Europeanization of the State or Domestic Politics as Usual?

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pp. 100-121

In response to the observation that several postcommunist states have rapidly expanded during the 1990s, some might argue that international factors, in particular European Union (EU) enlargement, are at work, not the attendant difficulties of democratization. As Charles Tilly’s observation that “states make war and war makes states” suggests, the international dimension has always played an...

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5 Local Control: Local Parties and Local State Administrations

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pp. 122-140

A battery of evidence implicates patronage politics as the driving force behind the extraordinary expansion and lackluster performance of the Polish and Slovak states. This combination of symptoms is typical not just for much of the postcommunist region, but for democratizing countries around the world where underdeveloped party competition fails to hold government...

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6 A Runaway Welfare State? Postcommunist Welfare Politics

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pp. 141-169

Fashioning a Weberian bureaucracy from a posttotalitarian, patrimonial administration has been a major challenge for the new democracies of Eastern Europe. Poland and Slovakia exhibit swelling administrative apparatuses and stalled bureaucratization, whereas there is more measured growth and incipient bureaucratization in the Czech Republic. Examining the administration,...

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7 Exporting the Argument: Party Competition and State Effectiveness in Other New Democracies

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pp. 170-191

Though the analysis in this book has leveraged the shared history and unique features of three countries to develop and test a series of hypotheses about state-building, its aim is not only to illuminate Polish, Czech, and Slovak state-building during their democratic transitions. The three causes of runaway state-building— demobilized societies, delegitimized states, and varying...

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pp. 192-205

The research behind this book began as an investigation into how the enlargement of the EU influences state-building in Eastern Europe, but I soon realized that this was the wrong prism through which to view state-building in this region. The project of building a postcommunist state was not only being influenced by the concurrent project of preparing for EU accession but also by the reintroduction of electoral competition and the imperatives...


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pp. 207-219


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pp. 221-250


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pp. 251-271


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pp. 273-278

E-ISBN-13: 9780801889219
E-ISBN-10: 0801889219
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801883651
Print-ISBN-10: 0801883652

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 8 line drawings
Publication Year: 2006

OCLC Number: 213306053
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Runaway State-Building

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Slovakia -- Politics and government -- 1993-.
  • Bureaucracy.
  • Patronage, Political.
  • Nation-building.
  • Poland -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
  • Czech Republic -- Politics and government -- 1993-.
  • New democracies.
  • Democratization.
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