Capitalists of All Russia, Unite! Business Mobilization Under Debilitated Dirigisme
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Political mobilization of business forces in the post-communist world has crucial implications for economic development and civil society. The emergence of strong cross-sectoral business associations during Putin's presidency challenges the prevailing view of Russia's political economy as an informal, particularistic state–business exchange. At the theoretical level, collective action by socio-economic groups is linked to severe principal-agent dilemmas common to many ex-socialist bureaucracies. Given institutionally incoherent state structures, the state as principal facilitates collective action by business actors to create a parallel, non-state platform for policy formation and implementation. Such a dynamic of “debilitated dirigisme” should be understood in the comparative contexts of business mobilization in Latin America, Asia, and the advanced industrialized world. The argument developed here stands in contrast to two conventional approaches to business mobilization, “threat theory,” in which firms organize to resist various anti-capitalist forces, and “political entrepreneurship theory,” which holds that business is the passive object of mobilization by the state.