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Secrecy and State Capacity: A Look Behind the Iron Curtain

Mark Harrison ()

CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)

Abstract: This paper reviews two decades of research on the political economy of secrecy, based on the records of former Soviet state and party archives. Secrecy was an element of Soviet state capacity, particularly its capacity for decisiveness, free of the pressures and demands for accountability that might have arisen from a better informed citizenry. But secrecy was double-edged. Its uses also incurred substantial costs that weakened the capacity of the Soviet state to direct and decide. The paper details the costs of secrecy associated with “conspirative” government business processes, adverse selection of management personnel, everyday abuses of authority, and an uninformed leadership.

Keywords: abuse of authority; adverse selection; censorship; military outlays; secrecy; state capacity; transaction costs; trust JEL Classification: N44; P37 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cis, nep-hpe, nep-pke and nep-pol
Date: 2017
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https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/resea ... 12-2017_harrison.pdf

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Working Paper: Secrecy and State Capacity: A Look Behind the Iron Curtain (2017) Downloads
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