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Abstract

The issue of interrelationship between political power of business and the democratic elements of policy making has been touched upon quite substantially in the Western academia. However, the emerging influence of the business actors in Bangladesh and the attempts of business groups to influence public policy in favor of business interest in general have not yet appeared as a crucial factor in the discussion of democracy in Bangladesh. Rather, in the larger public domains of Bangladesh, the discussion on democracy has mostly remained limited to the procedural aspects of it.

In the recent decades, parts of the business world in Bangladesh have gained substantial leverage by developing alliance with the governing elites. While big business actors are seen to be enjoying direct access to the highest level of the policy making domain of the state,this study has explored the existing patterns of interactions between the business actors and policy actors in Bangladesh. The study has discussed four different patterns of state-business nexus in Bangladesh including (i) state subsidy to business, (ii) state’s legal support to business, (iii) state’srepressive policies against the opposing counterparts (workers/citizens), as well as (iv) state’s questionable attempts to democratize the policy making process. In order to examine how and to what extent the combined actions of the state and the business groups affect the ‘democratic process’ of the country, the study has selected three business groups as cases, namely (i) BGMEA, (ii) Quick Rental Power Plants, and (iii) the Asia Energy Corporation.

In order to gain detail understanding of the relationship between the state and the business actors, and its implication on the policy process, the study has addressed a number of interrelated questions: What kinds of state-business nexus occur in Bangladesh? What are the implications of such nexus on the policy elements of the state? What factors contributed to the failure of a state-business nexus? Under what circumstances it succeeds?And what are the implications of such nexus on the democratic process of the state?

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