ABSTRACT

This paper explores state-economy relations in an understudied European country, i.e. Portugal. Main research questions are: How does the country fit into the Varieties of Capitalism conceptual framework? Are there specific patterns that define the case as a distinct model of statist economy? The research is influenced by Becker’s open, historical institutionalist approach to capitalism (Becker, U. 2009. Open Varieties of Capitalism. Continuity, Change and Performances. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). The paper offers a macro-account of major transformations in state ownership, in democratic Portugal, followed by analysis of state-economy relations at a sectorial level, namely in the waste management sector. Findings suggest that Portuguese capitalism has evolved from statist socialism into a formally liberalised economy but, in reality, it re-configured into a model of state-dependency perpetuated by the allocation of vast external resources. From large-scale owner to large-scale privatizer, the state adjusted its role as a large-scale aggregator.