Costing secrecy

Mark Harrison 15 January 2014

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From public finance to climate change, democracy looks to be in trouble. In many Western countries, political decisions are gridlocked while economic, social, and environmental imbalances accumulate. Our leaders juggle public opinion, private lobbies, and expert advice while trying to live within past promises and present legal obligations. The costs of reaching decisions are often high and sometimes prohibitive, leading us into democracy’s ‘do nothing zone’, where bargaining fails and the outcome is procrastination (Wintrobe 2000: 247-279).

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Topics:  Economic history Politics and economics

Tags:  democracy, dictatorship, Soviet Union, autocracy, transaction costs, secrecy

Was Stalin necessary for Russia’s economic development?

Anton Cheremukhin, Mikhail Golosov, Sergei Guriev, Aleh Tsyvinski 10 October 2013

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In 1962, a prominent British economic historian, Alec Nove, asked whether Russia would have been able to industrialise in the late 1920s and 1930s in the absence of Stalin’s economic policies (Nove 1962). This question is still important for several reasons.

  • The transformation of Soviet Russia from an agrarian to an industrial economy is a key episode in economic and political history.

The industrialised Soviet Union played a key role in the victory over Nazi Germany during WWII and, as one of the two superpowers during the Cold War, reshaped the postwar world.

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Topics:  Development Economic history

Tags:  Russia, Stalin, Soviet Union, industrialisation, collectivisation

Why a collapse of the Eurozone must be avoided

Anders Åslund 21 August 2012

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Articles on a possible breakup of Eurozone either see it as a mere devaluation (Lachman 2010, Roubini 2011) or reckon that its collapse would amount to a major economic disaster (Buiter 2011, Cliffe et al. 2010, Normand and Sandilya 2011). It seems the latter is more likely. Large imbalances have accumulated between southern debtor countries and northern creditor countries. Any capping of these balances would disrupt the payments mechanism between the Eurozone countries and impede all economic activity (Åslund 2012).

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Topics:  EU policies Europe's nations and regions

Tags:  Habsburg Empire, currency union, Soviet Union, Eurozone crisis, Yugoslavia

Russia’s national income in war and revolution, 1913 to 1928

Mark Harrison, Andrei Markevich 11 May 2012

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In 1914, Russia joined in the First World War. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 Russia’s part in that war came to an end. A civil war soon began, that continued with varying intensity until 1920. It was followed immediately by a famine in 1921. Economic recovery began, but by 1928 the Russian economy had been caught up in Stalin's drive to “catch up and overtake” the West through forced-march industrialisation.

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Topics:  Development Economic history Europe's nations and regions

Tags:  Stalin, Soviet Union, Russian Revolution, state capacity

Explaining fertility trends in Russia

Kazuhiro Kumo 02 June 2010

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Exceptionally low birth rates in transitional economies

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Topics:  Health economics Labour markets Welfare state and social Europe

Tags:  Soviet Union, Population growth, fertility trends

Stalin as a rational dictator

Konstantin Sonin interviewed by Romesh Vaitilingam,

Date Published

Fri, 10/31/2008

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Topics

Politics and economics
Tags
Stalin, Soviet Union, dictators

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Stalin, mass murder and elections
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The dictator’s approach to electoral patterns

Konstantin Sonin 09 August 2008

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While the people of the developed world are fascinated by electoral campaigns, more than a half of the world’s population does not have a chance to participate in elections. Yet any dictator needs some popular support; the difference is that he can trim his constituency, eliminating those who do not support him.

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Topics:  Politics and economics

Tags:  Stalin, Soviet Union, revolution