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How Much Control is Enough? Monitoring and Enforcement under Stalin

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  • Andrei Markevich

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick, and the Center for Economic and Financial Research, New Economic School, Moscow)

Abstract

In hierarchies, agents’ hidden actions increase principals' transactions costs and give rise to a demand for monitoring and enforcement. The fact that the latter are costly raises questions about their scope, organisation, and type. How much control is enough? The paper uses historical records to examine Stalin’s answers to this question. We find that Stalin's behaviour was consistent with his aiming to maximise the efficiency of the Soviet system of control subject to the loyalty of his inspectors and the risk of a “chaos of orders” arising from parallel centres of power.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) in its series Working Papers with number w0110.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0110

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Keywords: Casymmetric information; principal-agent problem; transaction costs; hierarchy; USSR;

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References

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  1. Ronald Wintrobe, 2001. "How to understand, and deal with dictatorship: an economist's view," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 35-58, 03.
  2. Janos Kornai & Eric Maskin & Gerard Roland, 2002. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Economics Working Papers 0019, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  3. Georgy Egorov & Sergei Guriev & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-10, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  4. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, 1985. "Control: Organizational and Economic Approaches," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 134-149, February.
  6. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Wintrobe,Ronald, 2000. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521794497, April.
  9. Andrei Markevich & Mark Harrison, 2006. "Quality, experience, and monopoly: the Soviet market for weapons under Stalin -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(1), pages 113-142, 02.
  10. Lorenz Blume & Stefan Voigt, 2007. "Supreme Audit Institutions: Supremely Superfluous? A Cross Country Assessment," ICER Working Papers 03-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  11. Qian, Yingyi, 1994. "Incentives and Loss of Control in an Optimal Hierarchy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 527-44, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Harrison, Mark & Zaksauskienė, Inga, 2013. "Counter-Intelligence in a Command Economy," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 170, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  2. Harrison, Mark, 2011. "Secrecy, Fear and Transaction Costs: The Business of Soviet Forced Labour in the Early Cold War," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 47, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  3. repec:cge:warwcg:150 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. repec:cge:warwcg:34 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Harrison, Mark, 2013. "The Economics of Coercion and Conflict: an Introduction," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 151, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  6. Markevich, Andrei, 2007. "The Dictator’s Dilemma : to Punish or to Assist? Plan Failures and Interventions under Stalin," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 816, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Harrison, Mark, 2010. "Forging Success: Soviet Managers and Accounting Fraud, 1943 to 1962," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 34, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  8. repec:cge:warwcg:169 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Harrison, Mark, 2011. "Forging success: Soviet managers and accounting fraud, 1943-1962," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 43-64, March.
  10. repec:cge:warwcg:46 is not listed on IDEAS

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