EKH Seminar: Mikolaj Malinowski
Seminar titel: Incredible Commitment: Oligarchy and state failure in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Mikolaj Malinowski from University of Groningen will present a seminar titled:
Incredible Commitment: Oligarchy and state failure in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
ABSTRACT: Parliamentary regimes can develop as instruments of state capture and influence accumulation by elites. Gradual concentration of socio-political influence by oligarchs may undermine the elite’s ability to commit credibly to political contracts, reach consensus, and sustain the extractive regime. By analysing a vast genealogical dataset of the elite of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, I construct annual measures of the socio-political capital of every senator between 1569 and 1795. I show that influence concentration by the elite-within-the-elite eroded the ‘elite-binds-itself’ contract-enforcement mechanism that facilitated consensus-making. This led to a parliamentary gridlock and state failure.