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Pervasive Shortages Under Socialism

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  • Andrei Shleifer
  • Robert Vishny

Abstract

We present a new theory of pervasive shortages under socialism, based on the assumption that the planners are self-interested. Because the planners -- meaning bureaucrats in the ministries and managers of firms -- cannot keep the official profits that firms earn, it is in their interest to create shortages of output and to collect bribes from the rationed consumers. Unlike official profits, bribes are not turned over to the state, and so shortages enable the key decision makers who collect them to profit personally. The theory suggests that an increase in the official price of a good might reduce output. The theory also suggests that market socialism is bound to fail even without computational complexities facing the planners.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3791.

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Date of creation: Jul 1991
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3791

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  1. Schumpeterian Competition and Economic Growth
    by Peter Klein in Organizations and Markets on 2007-01-23 19:37:03
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Cited by:
  1. Marianne Bertrand & Simeon Djankov & Rema Hanna & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2006. "Does corruption produce unsafe drivers?," Natural Field Experiments 00218, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Kulshreshtha Pravin, . "Bureaucratic Corruption: Efficiency Virtue or Distributive Vice?," IIMA Working Papers WP2003-03-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Simeon Djankov & Rema Hanna & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2007. "Obtaining a Driver's License in India: An Experimental Approach to Studying Corruption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1639-1676, November.
  4. David Romer, 2003. "Misconceptions and Political Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 1-20, January.
  5. Barassi, Marco R. & Zhou, Ying, 2012. "The effect of corruption on FDI: A parametric and non-parametric analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 302-312.
  6. Chaudhuri, Sarbajit & Ghosh Dastidar, Krishnendu, 2014. "Corruption in union leadership," MPRA Paper 53281, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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