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Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint

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  • János Kornai
  • Eric Maskin
  • Gérard Roland

Abstract

We propose a clarification of the notion of a soft budget constraint, a concept widely used in the analysis of socialist, transitional, and market economies. Our interpretation is broad enough to embrace most existing approaches to soft budget constraint phenomena and provides a classification of their causes and consequences. In light of this interpretation, we then review the theoretical literature on the subject and compare it with those on other dynamic commitment problems in economics.

Suggested Citation

  • János Kornai & Eric Maskin & Gérard Roland, 2003. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1095-1136, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:41:y:2003:i:4:p:1095-1136
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/002205103771799999
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