Socialist economic growth and political investment cycles
Socialist economic growth in China and Eastern Europe has long been characterized by investment hunger, drives toward expansion, and cyclical fluctuation of investment rates. For decades, relatively high growth rates - often accompanied by a shortage of consumption goods - have typically been achieved at the consumers'expense. Treating social planners as self-interested bureaucrats, the author offers a positive model to help understand the norms of socialist economic growth. This model demonstrates: (a) how rapid capital accumulation tends to serve the social planners'own interests; (b) why investment hunger is an inevitable consequence of social planners'rational choices; and (c) when a drive toward expansion can cause a permanent shortage of consumption goods. Through numerical examples and empirical tests, the author provides a framework within which to analyze political investment cycles in a socialist economy. In China, he finds that high investment rates have often been linked to leftist political regimes and low or moderate investment rates with rightist political regimes.
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- Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Macroeconomics and Politics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roland, Gerard, 1987. "Investment growth fluctuations in the Soviet Union: An econometric analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 192-206, June.
- Bajt, Alexander, 1971. "Investment Cycles in European Socialist Economies: A Review Article," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 53-63, March.
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