Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Stockholm School of Economics Asia Working Paper Series,
Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute

No 2014-34: Political Change and the Business Elite in Indonesia

Anders Johansson ()
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Anders Johansson: Stockholm China Economic Research Institute, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: As Suharto’s authoritarian regime came to an end in 1998, the country’s business elite faced new challenges. While rent seeking had previously primarily taken place through direct relationships with and concessions from Suharto, the business elite in contemporary Indonesia operates in a setting with a higher degree of fluidity and uncertainty. This study sheds light on how the changes to the political landscape in Indonesia have affected the business elite. This is done by tracing the relationship between business and politics throughout history from the colonial period up to contemporary Indonesia. It also discusses how these changes have made the analysis of political connections and the value of political capital more complicated and highlights some of the factors believed to be important when analyzing the economics behind business-political relationships in Indonesia.

Keywords: Indonesia; political change; rent seeking; political connections; patronage; patrimonialism; elite; oligarchy

JEL-codes: D72; G30; G38

46 pages, December 17, 2014

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