Accepted Paper:

Austerity policies and high-level patronage in Greece  


Jutta Lauth Bacas (University of Malta)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focuses on a case of persisting patronage by reconstructing the story of the Lagarde list in Greece. After reconstructing the decisions taken by Greek politicians since 2010, a conclusion will be drawn regarding the significance of political patronage in the context of austerity policies.

Paper long abstract:

Party patronage in the form of 'trading' political votes against benefits and rewards in the public sector can be understood as one oft he main features oft he post-war Greek political culture. In dept-ridden Greece of today such long-established patterns of rewarding political followers have become difficult for political leaders since the international creditors demand that the country should reduce its public spending. The paper will investigate the question if patterns of clientelism and patronage are consequently changing in Greece.

In the main part of my paper, a case-in-point regarding the pattern of political patronage is discussed: the so-called Lagarde list. The Lagarde list, a document containing roughly 2,000 names of potential Greek tax evaders with accounts at a Swiss bank, was delivered to the than Minister of Finance in October 2010. A detailed reconstruction of what happened after receiving this crucial information and what kind of action was taken (or not!) by Greek governments until 2015 reveals a pertaining pattern of political patronage. By delaying relevant instructions and by postponing tax investigations, politicians in Athens managed to protect wealthy Greek depositors in Swiss banks, who happened to be family, friends or members of the ruling parties. In the final part of my presentation, a conclusion will be drawn stressing the relevance of political patronage in the overall context of austerity policies in Greece.

Panel P010
Patronage-clientelism 2.0: the legacy of Mediterraneanist anthropology in contemporary corruption/anti-corruption studies [MedNet]