Politics-Business Collusion in Indonesia and beyond


Double Panel

Part 1

Session 9
Thu 09:00-10:30 REC A2.15

Part 2

Session 10
Thu 11:00-12:30 REC A2.15



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While harboring diverse political regimes, a striking commonality of countries across Southeast Asia is the prevalence of informal exchange relations between political and economic elites. Employing a range for terms to describe this phenomenon – from crony capitalism and oligarchy to business-politics collusion - scholars from across the region regularly document how business actors provide campaign funds and other forms of support to politicians in exchange for privileged access to economic opportunities. These studies highlight that such collusive exchanges have considerable negative impacts on governance and politics across the region, from weakening state regulatory capacity, undermining natural resource management and boosting corruption, to fostering political inequality, weakening civil society and, more generally, skewing governance towards the interests of wealthy elites.
Collusive business-politics interaction has a long history in the region. Yet the forms and intensity of the interaction between the worlds of business and politics is evolving, in response to both economic development and changing political contexts. In some countries increasingly expensive election campaigns are making politics even more oligarchic, while the continuing importance of state-dependent economic sectors – such as natural resource extraction and real estate – is also deepening politics-business collusion. In this panel we aim to take stock of recent developments and assess the state of the field, with a particular focus on Indonesia. Bringing together researchers from different disciplines focusing on forms of business-politics collusion in different sectors, this panel aims to generate discussion about the state of knowledge about the evolving character of business-politics interaction, as well as the challenge of conceptualizing this interaction. What do we know of its causes, forms and consequences of business-state collusion? What is the character and effectiveness of efforts to curtail these exchange relationships? And how might politics-business collusion be studied comparatively?