Hajnal, György, Sándor Csengődi and Bence Kucsera (2016): Functional or doctrinal? Structural dynamics of the state owned enterprises sector in post-transition Hungary, IRSPM, IRSPM 2016 Annual Conference, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 13-15 April 2016
The post-2008 years saw a worldwide increase in the extent, to which governments were eager, as well as expected to, enhance their organizational tools available for achieving public goals in an increasingly volatile environment. State owned enterprises (SOEs) became, after decades of an unquestioned mantra of privatization, a justified and even appealing structural component of this toolkit, as did increasingly tightly controlled (as opposed to arm’s length) forms of public agencies. This overwhelmingly crisis based explanation of governments’ shifting agency policy can, at least in the Central and Eastern European context, be contrasted with another one. Namely, the rhetoric, the doctrine and indeed the practice of an increasingly populist, illiberal or even ‘Putinist’ political course seems, according to numerous observers, take place. As a consequence, the argument goes, the desirability of extended government control either by means of political and administrative oversight or by ownership increases, irrespective of the presence or absence functional imperatives stemming of the economic context. Focusing on post-2010 Hungary as a prime example of such ‘unconventional’ political developments the paper wishes to make an initial step towards testing the above rival hypotheses by comparing the shifting boundaries of the agency and SOE sectors in the pre-2010 and the post-2010 years. The research is based on an original data set covering agencies, public institutions and SOEs from the early 1990s to 2014.
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