Horizon 2020: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship
Project title:
Southeast Europe’s emerging growth advocates: Domestic firms, technology and economic governance in institutionally weak states


Start date: 1 September 2020
End date: 30 November 2022

Dr Sonja Avlijaš
Office: 706

Dr Sonja Avlijaš is a political economist with a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She is an affiliated researcher at the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP) at Sciences Po in Paris, and the 2020 Wayne Vuchinich Fellow at Stanford University in California. She is editor of the ‘Europe in Question’ Discussion Paper Series at the LSE and member of the Executive Board of the European Association for Comparative Economic Studies (EACES), following her receipt of the 2018 EACES PhD Thesis Award for the best doctoral dissertation.

Project summary

SEEGROW is interested in governance of small and medium domestic companies in the era of information and communication technology (ICT) and knowledge driven growth. It is empirically grounded in Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina in order to improve our understanding of economic governance in semiperipheral countries with weak and captured formal institutions.

The starting premise is that ICT offers new international opportunities for domestic small and medium firms with industrial skills but little capital, which propels them to engage with these new opportunities, tailor them to their circumstances, and get empowered by them. This then reduces the negative impact of weak formal governance structures on the countries’ overall innovation and growth.

The project engages with political economy, institutional economics, management and collective action and governance literatures. Its key objective is to understand the extent to which small economic agents are reshaping rules of economic governance from the bottom-up in the context of state capture. SEEGROW thus challenges the conventional wisdom that state-level institutional reform is the sole game changer for small economic actors who are trapped in the status quo of institutional weakness.

Project supervisor: Prof. Mihail Arandarenko

Secondment institution (to support fieldwork in Bosnia & Herzegovina): Faculty of Economics, University of Banja Luka


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 895519. The information on this website does not reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.