POCKETS OF WEAKNESS IN HIGH-CAPACITY STATES Migrant Labour Exploitation in Sweden
This thesis explores the uneven reach of a high-capacity state over societal actors. Infrastructural power is the aspect of state capacity that determines how far a bureaucracy can reach into a society. The limited reach over certain societal actors illustrates the varied ability of a state’s radiating institutions to regulate social relations. The aim is to examine the potential factors causing pockets of weakness in a high-capacity state. In the context of labour exploitation of migrant labour in Sweden the limited ability to reach the perpetrators and victims involved are used as examples of pockets of weakness. Semi-structured interviews are conducted with state agents and stakeholders involved in combating labour exploitation and two stakeholder organisations. The main findings underline that the monitoring capacity of the state is being severely restrained by confidentiality laws. The unwillingness to report to the authorities due to the vulnerability of victims is hampering monitoring and sanction capacities. Inadequate state resources (information, money and human capital) and constraints on policy instruments (financial incentives, sanctions and propaganda) are also impeding the ability to combat labour exploitation. Coordination failure is discounted as a factor, while discretion and adaptability to political decisions appear to be more significant in explaining uneven social reach.