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Stalinist Labour Coercion during World War II: An Economic Approach

Martin Kragh ()

Europe-Asia Studies, 2011, vol. 63, issue 7, 1253-1273

Abstract: Through a study of Soviet legal practices, the article examines the enforcement of coercive laws and their limitations in the Soviet command economy. New archival documentation shows the scale and scope of Stalin's coercive machinery. Firstly, we show why labour legislation assumed its specific form, based on an economic analysis of the command economy. Secondly, we identify four specific limits to the efficient enforcement of the legislation: collusion, search costs, administrative congestion and in absentia convictions. Thirdly, we provide new input to the discussion on the scale of the Gulag apparatus, showing that certain data need to be treated cautiously.

Date: 2011
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DOI: 10.1080/09668136.2011.592274

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