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Title: Families, businessmen and oligarchs : the political economy of crony capitalism in Egypt
Author: Sfakianakis, Demetrius John
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis is a study of Egypt's political economy, in particular business-state relations, during the age of controlled economic liberalization in the 1990s. The thesis argues that certain business families and individual businessmen prospered in the 1990s as a result of the state's willingness to offer them patronage and protection, as well as their capacity to shape state policies to suit their business interests. Various families and individuals rose to elite business status by relying on multiple, interlinked politico-economic alliances and patronage networks between business and the state. The elite business sector of Egypt was virtually limited to this small number of families and individuals in close proximity to the state. The term crony capitalism best describes relations between elite businessmen and the Egyptian state during the 1990s. As the Egyptian economy grew in size in the 1990s, so did the business elite. Many of these business cronies preferred to invest in very remunerative short-term projects. Access to credit, licenses and land were disproportionately available to the regime's business cronies. Elite business capital was not disciplined. Monopolies or oligopolies were created with the acquiescence of the government. Rent-seeking behavior by businessmen and the state was characteristic of the large private sector. As privatization was instituted in the 1990s, rentseeking behavior was not eliminated. Public monopolies turned into private monopolies or oligopolies. Business and the state played a key role in maintaining a lack of transparency and competition in the economy. The end result of undisciplined elite business expansion- epitomized by preferential, but non-performing loans to elite businessmen-was higher transaction costs and a crisis-ridden banking sector. Egypt's large private sector was unable to offer recuperative options for the country's employment problems, which became even more acute in the 1990s. More broadly, this thesis provides a way of thinking about blocked transition and the phenomenon of crony capitalism in various developing economies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available