Working Paper
Clans, Cliques, and Captured States

Rethinking “Transition” in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

Informal systems of relationships may be the most appropriate unit of analysis for understanding the patterns of development of many aspects of corruption, organized crime, markets, and the state. The lack of attention to informal systems can produce unanticipated and undesired outcomes in reform and foreign aid efforts. Focusing on economies in transition, this paper will (i) review pertinent literature on informal groups and networks and states since the fall of communism; (ii) discuss the applicability of conventional models to them; and (iii) examine the social organization of states and pose questions to help analyze and compare the role of informal systems in shaping states.