Related Publications

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This page contains information on recent publications related to this project, authored by the contributors to the Encyclopaedia.

Corruption and informal practices in the MENA region

Ina Kubbe (Tel Aviv University) and Aiysha Varraich (Quality of Government Institute, Gothenburg) have edited a new volume entitled Corruption and Informal Practices in the Middle East and North Africa which will be published by end of the year by Routledge.

Uhljeb and the economy of favours in Croatia

Ružica Šimić Banović has published an open access article entitled Uhljeb – a post-socialist homo croaticus: a personification of the economy of favours in Croatia? in the journal Post-Communist Economies (31/2019).

Meaningful reform in the Western Balkans

The INFORM project has published its set of policy recommendations in a book entitled Meaningful reform in the Western Balkans: Between formal institutions and informal practices (2019, Peter Lang). The volume, edited by Eric Gordy and Adnan Efendic, examines how formal EU integration policy can best address both damaging and constructive aspects of informal practices in the Western Balkans region.

Corruption as resource transfer

David Jancsics has published an article, entitled Corruption as Resource Transfer: An Interdisciplinary Synthesis, available in early view and open access in the journal Public Administration Review (2019).

Political subjectivity

Thoughts on the concept of political subjectivity and political intentionality in anthropology by the late Professor Christian Giordano appear in the latest issues of Anthropology: Journal for the Sociocultural Anthropology (5/2018 ) and Lietuvos Etnologija: Socialinės antropologijos ir etnologijos studijos (18(27)/2018).

Informal governance and corruption in Kazakhstan

Maral Muratbekova-Touron and Tolganay Umbetalijeva have published an article on the Human resource management patterns of (anti)corruption mechanisms within informal networks in Kazakhstan, forthcoming in the Business and Professional Ethics Journal.

Flavours of informality

Abel Polese has published an editorial entitled Informality and policy in the making: four flavours to explain the essence of informality in the special issue of Interdisciplinary Political Studies (2(4)/2018).

Informal entrepreneurship and undeclared work

Colin C. Williams and Slavko Beredi have published an article entitled An institutional theory of informal entrepreneurship: Some lessons from FYR Macedonia in the Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (23(3)/2018).

Colin has also published a technical report with the title Glossary of Terms: European Platform Tackling Undeclared Work (Nov 2018) available on the Bepress platform.

Curbing Corruption in Government Contracting

Dr Elizabeth Dávid-Barrett from University of Sussex and Dr Mihály Fazekas from the Central European University have launched a new website for the Curbing Corruption in Government Contracting research project, funded by the DFID Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) Programme. The website has information about the project and team, working papers, policy briefs, datasets, links to software, and regular blog posts about events and activities. To keep up to date with the activities of the project, following their project Twitter account @corruption_red.

Corruption in the classroom: recent publications

Elena Denisova-Schmidt, Research Associate at the University of St.Gallen (HSG), Switzerland and Research Fellow at the Boston College Center for International Higher Education (CIHE), USA, and Lena Nicolas-Kryzhko have published an article with the title Teaching A Course on Corruption and Informality in Russia: An International Experience in the journal Mir Rossii (27(4)/2018).

Elena has also edited a special issue entitled Cheating and Plagiarism in Higher Education in the journal Higher Education in Russia and Beyond (3(17)/2018).

Why do students cheat? Is it because their secondary school preparation was not sufficient, or are they pursuing a university degree as a mere credential, without regard for how they obtain it? Why do faculty members and administrators ignore or pretend to ignore students’ misbehaviour? Are they overloaded with other duties and obligations or is teaching not no longer important (anymore) for their career advancement?

Why do faculty members cheat? Why do they publish in “sham” journals, falsify data, employ professional ghostwriters or even steal papers submitted to them for review and publish them as their own? Were they actively cheating as students in the past, and never taught about academic integrity? Are they just under pressure to publish, otherwise their contracts will be not prolonged or they will be not promoted?

The special issue deals with these and other relevant questions. We have contributions from both scholars and as well as practitioners covering different cheating techniques, from shpargalka to cheating involving technology, such as mobile phones or smart watches, and from simple ‘copying and pasting’ to more sophisticated ‘type-2 cheating’ or contract cheating. Some paper are based on a national context, some are comparative. We also have contributions discussing various forms of plagiarism and some of its consequences for the academia and beyond. Last but not least, the issue deals with possible remedies, measures, reforms and other initiatives aiming to mitigate cheating and plagiarism among students and faculty.

Corruption, fraud and other forms of unethical behaviour are problems that higher education faces in both developing and developed countries, at mass as well as elite universities. While academic misconduct is not new per se, its unprecedented dimensions, the growing challenge of mitigating and preventing it in many academic systems as well as its international aspect are rather new. This tendency requires more attention to be given to promoting ethics in higher education. Ethical behaviour in higher education is a very complex issue, however. It may be perceived differently by insiders and by outsiders; it is also deeply embedded into general institutional and cultural contexts, which makes the problem challenging for comparative analysis.

A theory of Trump Kompromat

The New Yorker has published an article by Adam Davidson on the Russian informal practice of kompromat, with Alena Ledeneva giving opinion on the Russian sistema.

Political vs Everyday Forms of Governance in Uzbekistan

Rustamjon Urinboyev, Abel Polese, Mans Svensson, Laura Adams and Tanel Kerikmäe have published an article entitled 'Political vs Everyday Forms of Governance in Uzbekistan: the Illegal, Immoral and Illegitimate' in the journal Studies of Transition States and Societies (2018, 10(1), pp.50-64). The article is available here.

Forthcoming: Routledge Handbook of Character Assassination and Reputation Management

December 2018, 224pp, HB: 978-1-138-55658-4, eBook: 978-1-315-15017-8

Character assassination is a timeless, cross-cultural phenomenon that reveals itself in a variety of forms and methods typical for every cultural, political, and technological epoch. This Handbook provides the first introduction to and a comprehensive overview of the key themes involved in the study of character assassination and reputation management. Divided into five substantive sections, the editors and contributors to this volume have gathered cases and scientific insights to track many common characteristics of character assassination, including the motives, strategies, and methods of character assassination practices throughout history.

Edited by: Sergei A. Samoilenko, Martijn Icks, Jennifer Keohane, and Eric Shiraev

Contributors: Neofytos Aspriadis; William Benoit; Olga Bogolyubova; Simon Burrows; Josh Compton; Timothy Coombs; Scott Dixon; Ekaterina Egorova; Elizaveta Egorova; Stephen Farnsworth; Chris Gilbert; Edwina Hagen; Sherry Holladay; Martijn Icks; Chris Ingraham; Jennifer Keohane; Martina Klicperova-Baker; Kyriakos Kolovos; Florian Krüpe; Marlene Laruelle; S. Robert Lichter; Olga Makhovskaya; Maureen Minielli; Niki Papagianni; Joshua Reeves; Alamira Samah Saleh; Athanassios N. Samaras; Sergei A. Samoilenko; Casey Schmitt; Jens Seiffert-Brockmann; Eric Shiraev; Greg Simons; Emmanοuil Takas; Anita Traninger; and Stijn van Kessel

The handbook’s promotion has been officially launched on 13 April 2018 at the Institute of World Politics in Washington DC.

See the CARP Research Lab's blog for more information on character assassination.

Upcoming Special Issue Project “Transnationalizing Clientelism”

Transnationalizing Clientelism

Edited by Tina Hilgers, Jana Hönke and Markus-Michael Müller


This special issue project on “Transnationalizing Clientelism” addresses two significant gaps in the literature on clientelism: one regarding levels of analysis and the other regarding normative assumptions. Since the post World War II years, clientelism has been a key tool for analyzing political, economic, and social arrangements at local and national levels in the Global South, where state presence is not consolidated across national territories. Yet, despite the impact of transnational influences on the Global South – from the colonial to the present era – the role of transnational actors and their resources in clientelism has not been examined. At the same time, the recent literature overwhelmingly assumes clientelism to have a negative impact on affected actors and institutions, despite traditional theoretical positions and contemporary ethnographic evidence of the contrary. We argue that clientelism facilitates the entry of transnational initiatives and organizations to areas of limited statehood; that transnational actors influence the quality of clientelistic relations; and, as a result, that the effect of such relations is much more complex than negative assumptions acknowledge. For decades, clientelism has been a central topic in debates on political development and governance in areas of limited statehood, that is, in contexts where governments are unwilling or unable to exercise authority throughout their territory. An earlier generation of scholars addressed patron-clientelism as a “lop-sided friendship” (Pitt-Rivers 1954: 140) between actors with unequal resource endowments, analyzing it as a neutral, if not positive, form of resource allocation; an important functional equivalent to absent or inefficient state institutions; and an effective mechanism for creating social cohesion (e.g. Schmidt et al. 1977). The contemporary literature, however, considers clientelism as a problem for democratic consolidation, citizenship, the effectiveness of state institutions, and the provision of collective goods, and as an indicator of the persistence of authoritarian political structures (e.g. van de Walle 2003, Kitschelt and Wilkinson 2007, Stokes et al. 2013). This literature neglects previous insights regarding the functional equivalence of clientelistic practices and structures in areas of limited statehood.

More information

At the same time, a shortcoming of both traditional and contemporary debates on the topic consists of the exclusive focus on national/subnational levels of analysis, neglecting the transnational. Thus, the role of external actors, the availability of external resources (money, knowledge, discourses) and transnational power relations in shaping, (re)producing and transforming clientelistic relations in areas of limited statehood has been neglected. Traditional studies are marked by a strong “methodological nationalism” despite the fact that the contexts (e.g. Java for Geertz 1960 and Mexico for Wolf 1956) had a deep historical experience with transnational forms of political relations due to their colonial past. From the 1980s onwards, following the rise of “transitology thinking” in political science, clientelism became increasingly analytically entangled with questions of the quality of democracy, elections, and citizenship (e.g. Fox 1994, Stokes 2005), again focusing on domestic actors and institutions. Today, despite a multitude of new studies on the phenomenon (e.g. Szwarcberg 2012, Stokes et al. 2013, Montambeault 2015, Hirvi and Whitfield 2015, Holland 2017, Hilgers and Macdonald 2017, Ledeneva 2018), the links between clientelism and the contemporary context of transnational flows of technology, knowledge, finance, and power have still not been made explicit.

However, most places that have been studied by scholars working on clientelism are deeply integrated in transnational relations of all kinds, including economic and migration processes, NGOs, development projects, security cooperation, norm diffusion, traveling “governance experts” (Dezalay and Garth 2011), and so forth. Indeed, the analytical neglect of clientelism’s transnational dimension is striking, considering that approximately 80% of the world’s population lives in areas of limited statehood (Risse 2011), where states engage in fluid co-governance with domestic and foreign actors. As a result, important questions of whether and how local clientelistic relations shape external actors, as well as whether and how clientelism extends into transnational governance structures, have not been addressed (see Hönke and Müller 2018; for exceptions see Cooley and Heathershaw 2017, Hönke 2018).

If most territories across the Global South are marked by uncertain sovereignty, several questions arise that call for reassessing conventional perspectives on clientelism:

  • How do transnational actors wanting to establish themselves in areas of limited statehood manage to gain access through clientelistic relations?
  • Once they are established, what impact do they have on clientelistic practices?
  • How do clientelistic practices feed back into the workings of transnational governance and how are actors and institutions that set and implement transnational governance agendas themselves shaped by clientelistic practices?

The contributors to this project address these questions, offering fresh perspectives on the role of transnational forces in shaping and being shaped by clientelistic practices. Overall, the contributions demonstrate that the success of external actors – be they legal enterprises, extractive industries, security operations, and NGOs, or criminal organizations – in breaking into the markets, territories and governance structures of the Global South depends on clientelism. Moreover, they highlight that clientelism feeds into the workings and dynamics of transnational actors, for instance through the incorporation or creation of the informal networks of local partners. Thus, in showcasing the transnational dimension of clientelism in our contemporary world, the special issue expands the literature on clientelism to account for both the impact of transnational actors on the transformation of the “local” on the one hand, and the “studying up” of clientelism as a force determining transnational relations in areas of limited statehood, on the other.

In order to unpack these connections, the contributions to this project draw on the findings of empirical research from cases around the globe and engage with the analytical framework outlined in the guest editors’ introduction (Hilgers, Hönke, and Müller, based on this proposal). They zoom in on key issue areas that are paradigmatic examples of deep and often co-constitutive interrelations between clientelism and transnational forces in our contemporary world. The cases range from security and military practices in Latin America and Africa; to transnational money laundering circuits in Central Asia and the tolerance of foreign corruption by Western banks; to transnational NGOs working in Russia; and the activities of transnational extractive industries in the Americas.

Together, the case studies generate a new research program. They enrich our understanding of the connections between transnational forces and clientelism through a variety of theoretical perspectives, analytical choices, and methodological approaches. This variety provides the elements for a comparative reading permitting us to observe commonalties and differences in the entanglements between clientelism and transnationalism depending on the specific sites in which these unfold as well as on the actors and practices involved. The resulting insights produce a research program for analyzing and explaining the dynamic causes and consequences of transnational clientelism that offers important insights to the constitutive role of clientelism in shaping contemporary transnational governance.

The special issue project builds on a set of papers presented at an international authors’ workshop at the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 700 “Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood” at Freie Universität Berlin in June 2015; as well as on two roundtables at the Latin American Studies Association’s annual meetings in 2016 (New York) and 2017 (Lima). To increase the coherence of the special issue, each contribution addresses four questions:

  • What is the connection between transnational forces and clientelism in the context of your article?
  • How does your argument contribute to the study of the entanglements between clientelism and transnational relations?
  • How does your contribution approach the connection between clientelism and transnationalism from a novel theoretical and/or methodological perspective?
  • What is relevant/specific about your context for addressing these questions?


Carney, C. P. (1989) “International Patron-client Relationships: A Conceptual Framework.” Studies in Comparative International Development, 24(2): 42-55.

Cooley, A. and Heathershaw J. (2017) Dictators without Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia. Yale University Press.

Dezalay, Y. and Garth, B. G. (2011) “Hegemonic Battles, Professional Rivalries, and the International Division of Labor in the Market for the Import and Export of State- Governing Expertise.” International Political Sociology, 5(3): 276–293.

Fox, J. (1994) “The Difficult Transition from Clientelism to Citizenship: Lessons from Mexico.” World Politics, 46(2): 151-184.

Geertz, C. (1960) “The Javanese Kijaji: The Changing Role of a Cultural Broker.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2(2): 228– 249.

Hilgers, T. and Macdonald, L. (eds.) (2017) Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: Subnational Structures, Institutions, and Clientelistic Networks. Cambridge University Press.

Hirvi, M. and Whitfield, L. (2015) “Public‐Service Provision in Clientelist Political Settlements: Lessons from Ghana’s Urban Water Sector.” Development Policy Review 33(2): 135–58.

Holland, A. C. (2014). Forbearance as Redistribution: Enforcement Politics in Urban Latin America. Harvard University.

Hönke, J. (2018) “Transnational Clientelism, Global (Resource) Governance and the Disciplining of Dissent.” International Political Sociology.

Hönke, J., and Müller, M.M. (2018) “Brokerage, Intermediation, Translation,” in Risse, Thomas, Tanja A. Börzel and Anke Draude (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Governance and Limited Statehood. Oxford University Press.

Kitschelt, H. and Wilkinson, S.I. (eds.) (2007) Patrons, clients and policies: Patterns of democratic accountability and political competition. Cambridge University Press.

Ledeneva, A. (2018) The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality (2 vols.). UCL Press.

Montambeault, F. (2015) The Politics of Local Participatory Democracy in Latin America. Stanford University Press.

Pitt-Rivers, J. (1954) The People of the Sierra. University of Chicago Press.

Risse, T. (ed.) (2011) Governance Without a State? Policies and Politics in Areas of Limited Statehood. Columbia University Press.

Schmidt, S. et al. (eds.), Friends, Followers and Factions: A Reader in Political Clientelism. University of California Press.

Szwarcberg, M. (2012) “Uncertainty, Political Clientelism, and Voter Turnout in Latin America: Why Parties Conduct Rallies in Argentina.” Comparative Politics, 45(1): 88– 106.

Stokes, S. C. (2005) “Perverse Accountability: A Formal Model of Machine Politics with Evidence from Argentina.” American Political Science Review, 99(3): 315-325.

Stokes, S. C., T. Dunning, M. Nazareno and V.Brusco (2013) Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics. Cambridge University Press.

van de Walle, N. (2003) “Presidentialism and Clientelism in Africa’s Emerging Party Systems.”

The Journal of Modern African Studies 41(2): 297–321.

Wolf, E. R. (1956) “Aspects of Group Relations in a Complex Society: Mexico.” American Anthropologist, 58(6): 1067– 1078.

Informal Governance and Corruption - Transcending the Principal Agent and Collective Action Paradigms

The research project Informal Governance and Corruption - Transcending the Principal Agent and Collective Action Paradigms has published its findings. The project is led by Dr Claudia Baez Camargo from Basel Institute on Governance, Professor Alena Ledeneva from University College London and Dr Scott Newton from SOAS, University of London and funded by the British Academy and UK Department for International development (BA/DFID Anti-Corruption Evidence Partnership).

Among the outcomes of the project were four video interviews with participating scholars of informality.