Presentation at the Midwest Political Science Association 72nd Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 3 April 2014.
State capture and corruption are widespread phenomena in transition economies such as Hungary. This paper has a two-fold goal: first, demonstrates how a novel analytical framework for gauging state capture works using the example of Hungary during 2009-2012; second, it systematically analyses how captor group organisation influences the structure and methods of state capture. In order to address these two objectives, it first establishes a robust measure of corruption risks in public procurement transactions focusing on binary relationships between issuers and suppliers. Second, it constructs a contractual network of organisations to analyse the distribution of corruption risks. Third, it systematically explores how the change in governing elite composition impacts on the network structure of rent extraction in public procurement. Findings indicate that high corruption risk actors cluster together across two electoral cycles suggesting partial capture of the Hungarian state by elite groups. The increasingly central position of high corruption risk subgroups in 2011-2012 compared to 2009-2010 coincides with a more centralised governing party’s coming into office. Within governing elite composition, thus, appears to be a powerful force shaping the structure of rent extraction with wide-ranging ramifications for anti-corruption efforts, budget deficit, market competition, and democratic contestation.