Stanislav Markus announced winner of 2016 Stein Rokkan Prize

This year’s Prize has been awarded to Stanislav Markus (Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina) for his book Property, Predation, and Protection: Piranha Capitalism in Russia and Ukraine (Cambridge University Press, 2015), which looks at the threats to business owners’ property rights, and how such rights can be secured.

Committee Chair Klaus Goetz judged that Markus had developed “a comparative analysis that is exceptionally well designed; conceptually innovative; impressive in its empirical scope and the range of sources on which it draws; and equally rigorous in both theoretical and methodological terms.”

The laudation concludes :

Markus’s book stands out in several respects. It asks questions that go to the heart of the nature of post-Soviet capitalism, the forms it takes and the forces that have shaped it. Its findings do not just call into question conventional accounts of what imperils business ownership rights and how they may be better protected.

Markus’s analysis also has practical implications in that his findings suggest how strategies may be designed “from below” that focus on alliances spanning both capital and labour. His analysis is a model of comparative scholarship: his cases have been carefully selected; it allows observations over time (from 2000 to 2012); it shows a masterful command of the related literatures and skilfully identifies their biases and blind spots; it is conceptually innovative, notably as regards “agent predation”; it draws on an impressive range of interviews and a survey conducted by the author; and it adroitly weaves together theoretical, conceptual and empirical threads to produce an account that is both sweeping and nuanced.

This book has been truly composed and it is beautifully written.


Stanislav Markus is Associate Professor of International Business at the Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina. He focuses on the political economy of development, particularly with respect to property rights, corporate political activity, inequality, and governance. His research has appeared inWorld Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Socio-Economic Review, Daedalus, Studies in Comparative International Development, Polity, etc. His research has been recognized through many awards including the Harvard Academy Fellowship; the Luebbert Award for Best Article in Comparative Politics (from APSA); the Wilson Center Fellowship (from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars); and the Jean Monnet Fellowship (from the European University Institute). Professor Markus received his PhD from Harvard University.​

Prize Committee

Klaus H. Goetz
Alberto Martinelli
Manfred G. Schmidt
Per Selle

The Committee members were unanimous in their decision

About the Prize

The Stein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research is presented by the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the University of Bergen and the ECPR. The $5,000 prize, awarded annually, is open to works in comparative studies from all social science disciplines. It is given to a submission deemed to be a substantial and original contribution to comparative social science research. See previous prizewinners.