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The USSR before the Fall: How Poor and Why


  • Abram Bergson


This essay appraises the scholarly findings on the level of consumption and output in the USSR, compared with that in the West. Such aggregative calculations are onerous for any country, and not very surprisingly have encountered particular difficulty where such a strange society as Soviet communism has been in question. Predictably, the results have been controversial, but properly viewed they still provide illuminating perspective on the extraordinary events that have lately transpired in the USSR.

Suggested Citation

  • Abram Bergson, 1991. "The USSR before the Fall: How Poor and Why," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-44, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:4:p:29-44 Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.4.29

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Powell, Raymond P., 1977. "Plan execution and the workability of soviet planning," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 51-76, March.
    2. Roland, Gerard, 1990. "Complexity, bounded rationality, and equilibrium: The soviet-type case," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 401-424, September.
    3. George Garvy, 1977. "Money, Financial Flows, and Credit in the Soviet Union," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number garv77-1, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brainerd, Elizabeth, 2010. "Reassessing the Standard of Living in the Soviet Union: An Analysis Using Archival and Anthropometric Data," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(01), pages 83-117, March.
    2. Nauro F. Campos & Abrizio Coricelli, 2002. "Growth in Transition: What We Know, What We Don't, and What We Should," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-836, September.
    3. Stephan, Paul III, 1996. "Toward a positive theory of privatization--lessons from soviet-type economies," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 173-193, June.
    4. Herbert BrĂ¼cker & Wolfram Schrettl, 1996. "Transformation, Investitionen und Wachstum: eine theoretische Perspektive," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 65(1), pages 5-13.
    5. Etienne Farvaque & Alexander Mihailov & Alireza Naghavi, 2011. "The Grand Experiment of Communism: Discovering the Trade-off between Equality and Efficiency," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2011-02, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    6. E. Farvaque & A. Mihailov & A. Naghavi, 2011. "The Grand Experiment of Communism: Discovering the Trade-off between Equality and Efficiency," Working Papers wp776, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Broadberry, Stephen & Klein, Alexander, 2011. "When and why did eastern European economies begin to fail? Lessons from a Czechoslovak/UK productivity comparison, 1921-1991," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 37-52, January.
    8. Geoffrey Wyatt, 2003. "Corruption, Productivity and Socialism," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 223-244, May.
    9. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2011-02 is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • P27 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Performance and Prospects


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