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In the shadow of the Gulag: Worker discipline under Stalin

Listed author(s):
  • Miller, Marcus
  • Smith, Jennifer C.

An ‘efficiency wage’ model developed for Western economies is reinterpreted in the context of Stalin’s Russia, with imprisonment – not unemployment – acting as a ‘worker discipline device’. The threat of imprisonment allows the state to pay a lower wage outside the Gulag than otherwise, thereby raising the “surplus” left over for investment: this externality provides a reason for coercion over and above the direct productivity of those in custody.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147596715000207
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 43 (2015)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 531-548

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:43:y:2015:i:3:p:531-548
DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2015.01.005
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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  1. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-283.
  2. Nalebuff, Barry J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1983. "Information, Competition, and Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 278-283, May.
  3. Simon Ertz, 2005. "Trading Effort for Freedom: Workday Credits in the Stalinist Camp System1," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 47(2), pages 476-491, June.
  4. Leonid Borodkin & Simon Ertz, 2005. "Forced Labour and the Need for Motivation: Wages and Bonuses in the Stalinist Camp System," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 47(2), pages 418-436, June.
  5. Andrei Markevich, 2007. "How Much Control is Enough? Monitoring and Enforcement under Stalin," Working Papers w0110, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  6. Markevich, Andrei & Harrison, Mark, 2011. "Great War, Civil War, and Recovery: Russia's National Income, 1913 to 1928," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(03), pages 672-703, September.
  7. Carter, Michael R, 1986. "The Economics of Price Scissors: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1192-1194, December.
  8. Gregory, Paul R. & Schröder, Philipp J.H. & Sonin, Konstantin, 2011. "Rational dictators and the killing of innocents: Data from Stalin's archives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 34-42, March.
  9. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, December.
  10. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766.
  11. 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).
  12. Mark Harrison, 2002. "Coercion, compliance, and the collapse of the Soviet command economy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 55(3), pages 397-433, August.
  13. Ellman, Michael, 1975. "Did the Agricultural Surplus Provide the Resources for the Increase in Investment in the U SSR During the First Five Year Plan?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 85(340), pages 844-863, December.
  14. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
  15. Wintrobe,Ronald, 1998. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521583299, December.
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