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"Our Mentality is to Search for Ways Around the Law" - A Minor Field Study on Path Dependence in and Perceptions of Informal Economic Exchange in Belarus and Ukraine

Lennhag, Mi LU (2009) STVM01 20091
Department of Political Science
Abstract (Swedish)
This thesis examines the continuity, change and adaptation of blat – as a Soviet time, informal economic transaction network, that existed as a response to a non-functional economy. The analysis is based on 33 in-depth interviews conducted in 2009 during a field study in Ukraine and Belarus. The main focus is on individuals’ descriptions, justifications and explanations of their ongoing informal participation in today’s blat. Theoris on informal institutions, path dependence and of the relationship between individuals and the post-Soviet state – is elaborated.

A continuous presence of blat, as readapted to new socio-economic circumstances, is stressed. Today’s blat constitutes a channel for giving bribes or to guarantee good social... (More)
This thesis examines the continuity, change and adaptation of blat – as a Soviet time, informal economic transaction network, that existed as a response to a non-functional economy. The analysis is based on 33 in-depth interviews conducted in 2009 during a field study in Ukraine and Belarus. The main focus is on individuals’ descriptions, justifications and explanations of their ongoing informal participation in today’s blat. Theoris on informal institutions, path dependence and of the relationship between individuals and the post-Soviet state – is elaborated.

A continuous presence of blat, as readapted to new socio-economic circumstances, is stressed. Today’s blat constitutes a channel for giving bribes or to guarantee good social services. Blat involves more money and an increasing number of autonomous bribe collectors demanding bribes in the contacts with civil servants. Individuals justify their participation in these informal activities by placing the blame on the existence of dysfunctional laws, heavy bureaucracy, lack of state control, illicit acts by other citizens and the state officials and on a low identification with the (immoral) state. Respondents also present an ongoing preference for informal solutions, as a better way of solving many social problems. (Less)
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author
Lennhag, Mi LU
supervisor
organization
course
STVM01 20091
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Informal institutions, informal economy, Ukraine, Belarus, blat
language
English
id
1405384
date added to LUP
2009-06-18 11:29:06
date last changed
2009-06-23 13:18:09
@misc{1405384,
  abstract     = {This thesis examines the continuity, change and adaptation of blat – as a Soviet time, informal economic transaction network, that existed as a response to a non-functional economy. The analysis is based on 33 in-depth interviews conducted in 2009 during a field study in Ukraine and Belarus. The main focus is on individuals’ descriptions, justifications and explanations of their ongoing informal participation in today’s blat. Theoris on informal institutions, path dependence and of the relationship between individuals and the post-Soviet state – is elaborated.

A continuous presence of blat, as readapted to new socio-economic circumstances, is stressed. Today’s blat constitutes a channel for giving bribes or to guarantee good social services. Blat involves more money and an increasing number of autonomous bribe collectors demanding bribes in the contacts with civil servants. Individuals justify their participation in these informal activities by placing the blame on the existence of dysfunctional laws, heavy bureaucracy, lack of state control, illicit acts by other citizens and the state officials and on a low identification with the (immoral) state. Respondents also present an ongoing preference for informal solutions, as a better way of solving many social problems.},
  author       = {Lennhag, Mi},
  keyword      = {Informal institutions,informal economy,Ukraine,Belarus,blat},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {"Our Mentality is to Search for Ways Around the Law" - A Minor Field Study on Path Dependence in and Perceptions of Informal Economic Exchange in Belarus and Ukraine},
  year         = {2009},
}