Clientelism and state capture in the EU and EU-accession countries

Patron-client relations, rule of law weakness, state capture: how different are these concepts, and in which way do they play out across European countries?

While state-capture-like developments are often discussed in specific (especially East) European contexts, there have been few meaningful attempts to put these dynamics into conversation with those occurring in nominally more established European democracies. To these ends, the event will explore the patterns of grand corruption in the Balkans and in selected EU member states (e.g. Hungary, Italy, Croatia or Bulgaria) through a comparative lens. By so doing, it will reassess clientelism and state capture as new-old forms of politics, raising questions on the utility of the current framework.



This event was held on Friday 23 April 2021.


Andrea Lorenzo Capussela is the author of Declino Italia (Einaudi, 2021), The Political Economy of Italy’s Decline (Oxford University Press, 2018), and State-Building in Kosovo. Democracy, Corruption and the EU in the Balkans (Bloomsbury, 2015). He served as the head of the economics unit of the International Civilian Office, which supervised Kosovo after its independence.

Liz David-Barrett is Professor of Governance and Integrity and Director of the Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex. Her research focuses on the interfaces between government and business, particularly with regard to corruption in government contracting, lobbying and the revolving door.

Dušan Pavlović is a political economist. He teaches political economy and public choice at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade. His areas of interest are political economy of democratic institutions and state capture.

Tena Prelec is a Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), University of Oxford, and a Research Associate at LSEE-Research on South Eastern Europe, LSE.

Meet the chair

Dr Abby Innes is Assistant Professor in Political Economy. Before joining the European Institute in 1997 she was a Visiting Scholar at MIT and was a Jean Monet Fellow at the European University Institute, (2001-2).