Punishment without crime? Prison as a worker-discipline device
Miller, Marcus and Smith, Jennifer C. (2007) Punishment without crime? Prison as a worker-discipline device. Discussion Paper. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain). Discussion paper (Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain)) (No.662).
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An ‘efficiency wage’ model developed for Western economies is reinterpreted for Soviet Russia assuming that it was the Gulag not unemployment that acted as a ‘worker-discipline device’. Archival data now available allows for a basic account of the dynamics of the Gulag to be estimated. When this is combined with a dictatorship wishing to maximise the ‘investible surplus’ subject to an efficiency wage incentive constraint, what does it imply? That to secure resources for investment or war, consumption must be compressed; and making the Gulag harsher helps reduce incentive problems in the workplace. This is the cruel logic of coercion. But this economic rationale for the Gulag does not, we find, encompass randomised mass terror. Why did Stalin’s system of coercion ultimately fail? The paper concludes with comparisons of Western and Soviet systems from an efficiency wage perspective.
|Item Type:||Working or Discussion Paper (Discussion Paper)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Glavnoe upravlenie ispravitel'no-trudovykh lagereĭ OGPU , Information asymmetry, Labor discipline -- Soviet Union, Efficiency wage theory -- Soviet Union, Soviet Union -- Politics and government|
|Series Name:||Discussion paper (Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain))|
|Publisher:||Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain)|
|Place of Publication:||London|
|Official Date:||December 2007|
|Number of Pages:||47|
|Status:||Not Peer Reviewed|
|Access rights to Published version:||Open Access|
|Funder:||Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)|
|Grant number:||RES-051-27-0125 (ESRC)|
Acton, Edward and Tom Stableford (2005), The Soviet Union: A Documentary History, Volume 1: 1917-1940, Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
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