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Police Connected Firms: Evidence from Bulgaria 

Despite police philanthropy is legal in many developed democracies; financial reports on contributors and their reasons to donate are often a secretive affair. Neither economic transition, nor party rotation, and not even Bulgaria’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures could disrupt the vicious nexus between law enforcers and business elites. Crime and corruption return and with new elements. In 2011, the Bulgarian Interior Ministry received more donations to the police than ever before--a record exceeding €5 million from businesses and individuals. After condemnation both domestically and internationally, the practice became illegal for individuals and private businesses on September 1, 2011 and made completely illegal in July 2013 when the new Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev banned all and any type of donations. Under public pressure, the Interior published its sponsorship statistics, which were state secret prior to the scandal. The former Interior Minister and leading politician, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who in 2011 insisted that the Interior had not entered into any commitments in exchange for the donations which were thank-you gifts for a job well-done, currently faces three corruption charges. Given that this practice transitioned from being legal and commonplace to illegal and publicly condemned within two years' time, along with the ambiguous nature of donations to public servants, we seek to understand its associated contexts. In particular, we ask why some regions of Bulgaria received proportionately more donations to the police than others. To address this question, we draw upon theories from criminology, organizational studies, and economic sociology and test them using fuzzy set analysis on an innovative quantitative dataset that includes 2011 police donations as well as our regional predictor of the phenomenon. We hypothesize that a combination of high taxes, cumbersome state regulations, high crime rates, greater foreign direct investment, wealth, and inefficient law enforcement increase the probability of higher donation payments to the National Police Force.