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In the shadow of the Gulag: Worker discipline under Stalin

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  • Miller, Marcus
  • Smith, Jennifer C.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Miller, Marcus & Smith, Jennifer C., 2015. "In the shadow of the Gulag: Worker discipline under Stalin," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 531-548.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:43:y:2015:i:3:p:531-548 DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2015.01.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour discipline; Asymmetric information; Efficiency wage; Soviet Union; Stalin;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • P27 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Performance and Prospects

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