Thesis title: Honesty, trust, and debt in Istria’s wine industry
Research: My thesis asks how the values of honesty and trust in economic relationships survive pervasive debt, and how debt and trust shape such relationships. My doctoral research was undertaken in Istria, Croatia, amongst grape-growers and winemakers. I analyze how business relationships have undergone a transformation due to increasing economic pressures and poor contract enforcement, which have led to a return to alternative modes of business that complicate Croatia’s efforts to decrease informality and develop a healthy business environment for small producers. I also analyze how these rural businessmen are adjusting to integration into the European Union and how they perceive the political and economic reforms influencing their daily lives and livelihoods, as these perceptions drive local support for government more generally.