The Institutionalization of Ethnic Economy among Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia

Funding: OTKA
Duration: October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2021 (48 months)

The project “The institutionalization of Ethnic Economy among Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia”, carried out by the researcher Zsombor Csata, aims to gauge the costs and benefits of ethnic-based institutional solutions for Hungarian communities in these countries. Inspired by the lack of information about how ethnicity and economy interact, Csata chose Romania and Slovakia because minority policies, regulations concerning ethnic and linguistic governance differ in these countries. His main goal is to explore what makes ethnic-based common pool/community resource management, in addition to business and market strategies better than others, and to analyze why some of them fail.

His analysis will cover not only the relationship between economic agents from different ethnic groups—informal or semi-formal economic relations in a rural context. It will also have two other aspects. One is to examine the relationship between Hungarian producers and consumers doing businesses in both countries. Another is to investigate work organization and production management in the business environment, by comparing ethnic work groups. The results may help explain which factors contribute, as literature says, to improved business performance in ethnically diverse workplaces.

Such an analysis will stem from case-study methods. They involve interviews, focus groups, participant observation, document and media analysis, and sociometry. Once worked out, these methods will reveal the relationship between ethnic cooperation and business performance. Beyond filling a knowledge gap with journal articles and conference presentations, the project‘s results have further societal impact. They can inform policymakers how to efficiently support broader social and economic projects involving minorities.

Principal investigator (PI):

Zsombor Csata 
Research Fellow 
Researcher profile page 

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