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The Politics of Market Socialism

Author

Listed:
  • Andrei Shleifer
  • Robert W. Vishny

Abstract

The debate over market socialism has ignored the importance of the assumptions about the objectives of politicians in determining resource allocation. Theory and evidence suggest that totalitarian socialism does not lead to efficient resource allocation because dictators do not maximize social welfare. But democratic governments have political objectives different from social welfare as well. The authors argue that because these governments command greater resources (have more control rights) under socialism, democratic socialism (even if it could exist) is a less efficient system than democratic capitalism. Thus the political case against market socialism is even stronger than the economic case.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1994. "The Politics of Market Socialism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 165-176, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:8:y:1994:i:2:p:165-76
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.8.2.165
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.8.2.165
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1992. "Pervasive Shortages under Socialism," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(2), pages 237-246, Summer.
    2. Gordon Tullock, 1959. "Problems of Majority Voting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 571-571.
    3. Pranab Bardhan & John E. Roemer, 1992. "Market Socialism: A Case for Rejuvenation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 101-116, Summer.
    4. Nellis, John R., 1988. "Contract plans and public enterprise performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 118, The World Bank.
    5. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
    6. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population

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