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How Much Control is Enough? Monitoring and Enforcement under Stalin

  • Andrei Markevich

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick, and the Center for Economic and Financial Research, New Economic School, Moscow)

In hierarchies, agents’ hidden actions increase principals' transactions costs and give rise to a demand for monitoring and enforcement. The fact that the latter are costly raises questions about their scope, organisation, and type. How much control is enough? The paper uses historical records to examine Stalin’s answers to this question. We find that Stalin's behaviour was consistent with his aiming to maximise the efficiency of the Soviet system of control subject to the loyalty of his inspectors and the risk of a “chaos of orders” arising from parallel centres of power.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) in its series Working Papers with number w0110.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0110
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  1. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  2. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  4. Andrei Markevich & Mark Harrison, 2006. "Quality, experience, and monopoly: the Soviet market for weapons under Stalin -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(1), pages 113-142, 02.
  5. Qian, Yingyi, 1994. "Incentives and Loss of Control in an Optimal Hierarchy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 527-44, July.
  6. J. Kornai & E. Maskin & G. Roland., 2004. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 12.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521583299 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Georgy Egorov & Sergei Guriev & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," Working Papers w0063, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR), revised Jun 2006.
  9. Ronald Wintrobe, 2001. "How to understand, and deal with dictatorship: an economist's view," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 35-58, 03.
  10. Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, 1985. "Control: Organizational and Economic Approaches," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 134-149, February.
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  12. Lorenz Blume & Stefan Voigt, 2007. "Supreme Audit Institutions: Supremely Superfluous? A Cross Country Assessment," ICER Working Papers 03-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
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