Socialist Privatization: Response
In earlier papers on “Socialist privatization” Feige proposed a sequential set of stabilization, privatization and liberalization policies designed to provide the necessary, albeit not sufficient conditions, for a transition from a planned to a market economy. An important component of the proposed policy package was an equalitarian distribution of a portion of “state” wealth to private citizens by means of a voucher program whose aim was to establish a social safety net of private wealth composed of “citizen shares” to cushion the disruptions and lessen the hardships of the transition process. This paper estimates the value of the proposed “citizen shares” and finds that they would have provided a significant social safety net as well as a powerful incentive for Soviet citizens to support the reform program. The problem with the proposed voucher program was not that it provided too little incentive. The problem was that the government failed to provide the relevant information to the public and that government information was not likely to be viewed as credible by its citizens. Reference: Comparative Economic Studies. Vol. XXXII No. 3, Fall, 1990
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