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Re-stating Party Development in Central and Eastern Europe?

[journal article]

Hanley, Seán

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Abstract Two new studies, Conor O‘Dwyer‘s "Runaway State-building" and Anna Grzymała-Busse‘s "Rebuilding Leviathan", argue that in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) reform of the state has been a far more protracted, complex and uneven process than might have been expected given the region’s success in democratisation and marketisation compared to other post-communist and transitional states. Indeed, although employment levels and spending in the public sector in CEE have often declined since 1989, the personnel and expenditure of central government bureaucracies across the region have expanded, often at alarming rates, with little real gain in effi ciency or capacity – a phenomenon O‘Dwyer graphically terms ‘runaway state-building’. This essay surveys the crosscutting and overlapping arguments of the two books, including their conceptualisation of the problems of state politicisation, definitions and measurement of the state administration and its effectiveness, concepts of ‘robust competition’ and empirical fi ndings. It argues that while the two books signifi cantly advance knowledge on state transformation and party-state relationships in democratising states, their sometimes contradictory fi ndings and heavy reliance on ‘robust competition’ as an explanatory variable suggest that there is considerable scope for the refi nement of comparative research in this area.
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 1155-1176
Journal Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review, 44 (2008) 6
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications