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A népgazdasági szintű tervezési magatartás vizsgálata: kísérlet néhány összefüggés elemzésére
[Examination of national-level planning behaviour: An attempt at analysing some interrelations]


  • Gács, János
  • Lackó, Mária


The normative approach is a conspicuous feature of economic literature dealing with socialist planning. As against that, the authors follow a descriptive approach: they formulate rules about the behaviour of planners by examining the Hungarian medium-term plans and the annual plans of the past fifteen years. The data are examined by the authors throughout in terms of growth rates. Investigating the relations between medium-terms and annual plans, it turns out that the link between the two kinds of plans is rather loose. The first year of the medium-term plan, however, is still affected by the medium-term plan starting at the same date: in the majority of cases this annual plan figure fell between the fact figure of the previous year and the task set by the medium-term plan. Analysing the aggregate planned and factual figures of national income, industry, construction and agriculture the authors seek an answer to the question to what extent past results, i.e. deviations between the plans and facts influence future plans. By examining the series of annual plans and facts it has become clear that planners very quickly and sharply respond to deviations between plans and facts. It is characteristic for the majority of cases that if in some year the plan has not been fulfilled, the target of the next year will be smaller than the former plan figure, while in the case of overfulfillment the planned figure of the next year will be higher than the overfulfilled plan had been. This behaviour, which might be also called ‘learning from mistakes’, proves to be characteristic also for the annual plans of Bulgaria, Poland and the Soviet Union, and was shown to be true to almost hundred per cent for the Hungarian medium-term plans. Next the authors define the notion of ‘planners' ambition’. Based Accordingly, every plan can be bold, cautious or devoid of ambition, and for every series of plan figures an ambition-curve can be drawn. With the aid of the ambition-curve the authors analyse primarily the relation between the balance of trade and national income. The regularities found are the following: Under the effect of a deteriorating balance of trade the ambition of the plan for national income diminishes, while under the effect of an improving balance it increases. Affected by a deteriorating trade balance the ambition of exports increases, while that of imports decreases, and vice versa. Following the above patterns a cycle determining foreign trade and the whole of economic policy might be formulated, where, conforming to the changes in the balance of trade, a well discernible cycle of stop-and-go policies emerge. At the end of the article the authors examine the combined effect of the regularities discovered on the plans of national income. They find that a rather simple complex rule can be formulated. The notions and ideas of this article are very near to the ideas expounded by János Kornai in his book Anti-equilibrium.

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  • Gács, János & Lackó, Mária, 1974. "A népgazdasági szintű tervezési magatartás vizsgálata: kísérlet néhány összefüggés elemzésére
    [Examination of national-level planning behaviour: An attempt at analysing some interrelations]
    ," MPRA Paper 61834, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:61834

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jacob A. Mincer, 1969. "Economic Forecasts and Expectations: Analysis of Forecasting Behavior and Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc69-1, July-Dec.
    2. Victor Zarnowitz, 1967. "An Appraisal of Short-Term Economic Forecasts," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number zarn67-1, July-Dec.
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    More about this item


    Central planning; underfulfillment and overfulfillment; response to implementation; planners' ambition; stop-and-go cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • P21 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Planning, Coordination, and Reform
    • P24 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - National Income, Product, and Expenditure; Money; Inflation
    • P27 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Performance and Prospects


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