(P31) The Emergence of Illiberal Governance – Law, Regulation and Policymaking in Central and Eastern Europe
Csaba Győry, Associate Professor, Institute for Legal Studies, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Miklos, Sebok, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political Science, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
The diverse models developed to describe the post-transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), be they called dependent market economies, FDI-based second rank market economies or embedded neoliberal economies, all had one central thesis common: that the reason why they could attract a significant amount of FDI (besides factors such as already sophisticated manufacturing sectors, skilled workforce, well-developed infrastructure, and others) was in a particular state-economy nexus: relatively well-functioning governments, comparably stable democratic systems, independent institutions, strong protection of property rights, business-friendly regulatory frameworks and capable professionalised bureaucracies.
This state-economy relationship has arguably been changing dramatically in the past decades in many CEE countries, including the ones with the longest tradition of democratic institutions of liberal governance, such as Poland and Hungary. There are signs of democratic backsliding, erosion of independent institutions, weakened protection of property rights, politicization of lawmaking and the bureaucratic process.
It appears that comparative political economist, regulatory scholars and political scientist still struggle to conceptualize this phenomenon. None of the existing concepts, such as authoritarian capitalism, state capture, neopatrimonialism and others seem to be easily applicable to CEE countries, which started out as liberal democracies with independent institutions, and where recent developments brought about the strengthening the state as the central locus of political and economic power, instead of weakening it.
Our panel aims to bring together scholars specializing in political economy, regulation and governance of CEE, Asia, and elsewhere, in order to initiate a comparative discussion on authoritarian capitalism and illiberal governance, and foster future scientific cooperation.