Why do some governing parties limit their opportunistic behavior and constrain the extraction of private gains from the state? This analysis of post-communist state reconstruction provides surprising answers to this fundamental question of party politics. Across the post-communist democracies, governing parties have opportunistically reconstructed the state - simultaneously exploiting it by extracting state resources and building new institutions that further such extraction. They enfeebled or delayed formal state institutions of monitoring and oversight, established new discretionary structures of state administration, and extracted enormous informal profits from the privatization of the communist economy. By examining how post-communist political parties rebuilt the state in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia, Grzymala-Busse explains how even opportunistic political parties will limit their corrupt behavior and abuse of state resources when faced with strong political competition.
1. Introduction; 2. Competing for the state; 3. Developing the formal institutions of the state; 4. The expansion of state administration: exploitation or patronage?; 5. Privatizing the state: party financing strategies.
Winner, 2008 Ed A. Hewett Book Prize, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies
"Following her successful book on successor Communist parties in Eastern Europe, Anna Grzymala-Busse, in Rebuilding Leviathan, examines the impact of party competition on state building. Although market economies and electoral democracies are pervasive in the region, the record of state-building is mixed. In her original and well-researched study, Grymala-Busse argues that the variation can be explained by the degree of "robust" competition between political parties--that is, whether opposition parties are distinct, provide a plausible governing alternative, and are effective critics. She provides an effective critique both of those who dismiss the impact of party competition on institution building and those who miss the nuances of real-world party politics. Robust competition can persuade incumbents to create independent oversight bodies, limit clientalistic behavior, and control rent-seeking by public officials. In spite of its regional focus, the lessons of Rebuilding Leviathan will be of great interest to students of state reform and democratic transition throughout the world, especially in the middle-income countries of Latin American and Asia, where party competition is of increasing importance."
Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University
"What makes this book a valuable addition to the politics of transition studies is the detailed and empirically based comparative examination of various stratagems that parties have pursued in nine countries.... This book can be strongly recommended to scholars as well as policy makers."
-R. P. Peters, University of Massachusetts at Boston, for Choice Magazine
"This is a model study: original in conception and execution, fully researched, and superbly analytical, surpassing even some of the work of is illustrious patrons. No one should look at corruption and the links of the politicians to the state in quite the same way again...Nothing is perfect, of course, but this book comes very close."
-Bohdan Harasymiw, University of Calgary, Canadian Slavonic Papers