We model the consequences of the soft budget constraint in the context of retail borrowers. While János Kornai formulated the term of “soft budget constraint” mainly for organizations (firms, banks, municipalities, NGOs, etc.), we show that it can be applied to individual borrowers as well. We derive the feasibility conditions for private and public debt relief programs in a utilitarian framework and find that lenders have no interest in offering payment reductions if non-performing borrowers are few, have small debts, and are difficult to reach – precisely the characteristics of the poor. In this situation, poor debtors serve better as deterrents, similarly if we put them into a pillory. We calibrate the model parameters to survey data on poor households struggling with overdue debts in small villages in a disadvantaged rural region in Hungary. We find that in normal economic circumstances, private debt relief programs are not feasible. State intervention can be justified by positive externalities and moral considerations.
The most significant concept of János Kornai's oeuvre is the shortage economy theory as it was presented in Anti-equilibrium more than fifty years ago. According to this, modern economies are never in equilibrium. On the markets of goods and services, the aggregate demand is either significantly higher or significantly lower than the aggregate supply. This dichotomous model is discussed in the first part of the paper.
After the collapse of the communist system in 1989/90, shortages disappeared everywhere unexpectedly quickly. But it was also an unexpected development that the institutions of liberal democracy have not developed in several countries and/or collapsed after a short period. Regarding Hungary, Kornai issued an alarm signal at the turn of 2010/2011. He was the first who said that the Orbán regime had turned the country into an autocracy in barely a year. The second part of the paper examines whether Kornai's assertion, shared by many transition-economy specialist, that there are only two political systems (democracies and autocracies) is adequate for the entire range of post-socialist countries. The author's answer to this question is negative.
János Kornai published an interesting and important paper in 2000 about the “system paradigm”, and another in 2016 about the “system paradigm revisited”. In the last one he made a theoretical approach for differences between democracies, autocracies and dictatorships; made a typology for the most important elements for characterization of different political systems. In the second half of the 2010’s a debate has started among political analysts, public intellectuals and journalists, how we can characterize the new political system of Hungary led by Viktor Orbán. We can read detailed analyses about “hybrid regime”, “limited democracy”, “illiberal democracy”, “plebiscite leader democracy” etc. In this paper I would like to deal with the question of different political systems in general, and – on the experiences of the debates about the current Hungarian system – I would like to think further – the Kornai's model. Kornai pointed out 10 elements for characterization of it (the questions of removable governments, opposition parties in parliaments, elections, civil society, freedom of press, etc.) – I would like to differentiate 10 new potential elements, especially from the side of the political ideas, historical backgrounds and other viewpoints.
Kornai profoundly contributed to place the system to the centre of economic analysis. His multidisciplinary system paradigm is fundamental for understanding and analysing the variety of economic solutions and its consequences. The strong scientific foundation of Kornai's approach provides a fruitful opportunity to further develop and apply it to the most fundamental economic issues, such as explaining the different performance and strength of different economies and societies. The inclusion of a multidisciplinary perspective has the significant advantage of keeping under control non-economic factors that influence economic activities and performance and allows to account for the real behaviour and evolution of economies and societies. It can also contribute to explain the resilience of economic and social systems and economies. The paper takes stock of the importance of Kornai's analysis and method and applies them to better understanding the nature and working of the European Union and its difficulties. Based on Kornai's approach, the paper considers how the European Union should evolve to make itself workable and resilient in front of a threatening international environment.
János Kornai was an early and influential critic of rational choice theory, who opposed its application to interdisciplinary questions. In this paper, we attempt to show that certain contemporary uses of rational choice theory are perfectly compatible with Kornai's critique of general equilibrium theory, as well as his broader vision of economics as a mode of understanding. To do so, we leverage the insights of several “ordinary language” philosophers to demonstrate that the utility of rational choice theory derives from its grammatical properties rather than the truth values of its axioms.
This article explores the communication strategies of multinational corporations in response to the Russo-Ukrainian War and the public pressure to divest from the Russian domestic market. By content analyzing official statements from the top 50 revenue-generating multinational corporations in Russia, the article identifies patterns in corporate narratives about the war, their actions and concerns, and potential solutions. The findings reveal that most companies declare scaling down their presence in Russia while maintaining certain basic obligations, prioritizing employee safety, and expressing concerns about the global economy. While few explicitly condemn Russia's aggression, many adopt neutral language to avoid naming Russia as the aggressor. Corporations emphasize the importance of diplomacy, adherence to international law, and the pursuit of peace, but often avoid proposing concrete solutions. Despite variations across industries, countries of origin, and decisions to stay or leave Russia, the differences in statements were not significant. The uniformity of corporate statements and evidence that companies frequently do not follow their declared promises suggest potential “bluewashing” – making vague or false claims of social responsibility or anti-war stances to improve their public image. These findings emphasize the need for multinational corporations to develop sincere and original wartime communication strategies.
This paper presents the first comprehensive systematic literature review of articles from the last five years published on enterprise-scaled agility and offers practical insights for organisations looking to become more agile. The management literature on agile structures is still relatively scarce and fragmented, but emerging. Our results highlight the characteristics, advantages and tensions created by agility at the organisational level, and give insight for executives to support their decisions on organisational design. By examining the structural, cultural, and leadership antecedents that are necessary for success, this paper contributes to the ongoing debate about agile organisations. The concept of ‘Agility Forest’ proposed here will contribute to the better understanding of the connections between structure, culture, and leadership.
One of the important issues of banking today is the role bank branches and online banking solutions play in serving consumers. With the help of a representative Survey of 1,000 adults in Hungary conducted in 2022, we examine how well online and mobile banking solutions can provide a suitable alternative to bank branches. Based on our results, online banking solutions cannot fully replace personal banking in Hungary due to the customers' attitudes, as we can see that their use does not significantly affect the frequency of visits to the bank branch, and their usage rate does not increase with the distance from the bank branch. We also point out that for the Hungarian population the trend of bank branch closures may entail the risk of being left out of the formal financial system mostly for the older, digitally less receptive social strata living in small settlements and in a relatively worse financial situation.
This paper explores the ambiguous relationship between Confucian culture and innovation based on the scholarly literature. Applying a scoping review approach, the purpose of the literature review is to uncover the reasons behind the ambiguities of empirical research results and conceptualizations of how Confucianism affects innovation on the individual and on the organizational level. The paper builds on the assumption that the different operationalizations of Confucian culture are behind these contradictions. Since Confucianism is an ideology that has developed for over 2000 years, and even its most often cited virtues and principles are quite heterogenous, approaches to its operationalization in the field of management are also diverse. The results of the literature review indicate that different approaches to Confucian culture indeed show homogeneity in the conceptualization of the Confucianism-innovation relationship. Virtues and principles related to rigid hierarchies and great power distance have a detrimental effect, while others a rather positive one. Therefore, the paper argues that a more specific denomination of cultural factors should be necessary to avoid biased and unspecified results in both theoretical and empirical approaches.
Given that knowledge is one of the most important human resource values, the manner of its acquisition, transfer and development within an organisation is crucial. It should come as no surprise that given the link between knowledge acquisition and development in most spheres, several individuals wish to restrict their knowledge to themselves, as it gives them value in the labour market. Yet, if we inculcate knowledge sharing habits among individuals at an early age, so that they not only impart but also acquire knowledge through knowledge transfer, information acquisition can become a mutually beneficial process for both providers and acquirers. In this study, we conducted a survey among university students in Hungary to investigate how open they are about sharing their knowledge with each other and what they expect from their peers in exchange for the information they have. Data analyses showed that students' willingness to transfer knowledge and their expectations in return for the knowledge transferred are greatly influenced by their mutual relationships, but the strength of these relationships impact the rewards they expect for knowledge transfer.