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In the shadow of the Gulag: Worker discipline under Stalin

Marcus Miller () and Jennifer Smith ()

Journal of Comparative Economics, 2015, vol. 43, issue 3, 531-548

Abstract: An ‘efficiency wage’ model developed for Western economies is reinterpreted in the context of Stalin’s Russia, with imprisonment – not unemployment – acting as a ‘worker discipline device’. The threat of imprisonment allows the state to pay a lower wage outside the Gulag than otherwise, thereby raising the “surplus” left over for investment: this externality provides a reason for coercion over and above the direct productivity of those in custody.

Keywords: Labour discipline; Asymmetric information; Efficiency wage; Soviet Union; Stalin (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D82 P23 P26 P27 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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