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Dictatorship, Hierarchy, and the Stalinist Economy: the Soviet Defence Industry 1929 -1953 (DHSE)
Start date: 01 Jan 2008, End date: 31 Dec 2008 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project will investigate the forces shaping the working arrangements of Stalin's dictatorship in the Soviet economy, using the detailed documentation now available in the Russian state and economic archives as its evidence base. Its ultimate motivation is to understand how a dictator chose to rule subject to the resources available and other constraints that limited his choices, and the influences on his choices that arose from within his own regime. The working arrangements of Stalin's regime were highly variable over time. It appears that Stalin exercised choice between two principal means of securing the compliance of his agents and so enforcing his rule: a small apparatus that relied on terror, or a larger apparatus that relied less on terror, more on the provision of assistance and rewards. A larger apparatus that provided assistance and rewards was expensive, but terror also had costly repercussions. Officials at lower levels had their own preferences.Investigation will focus specifically on the defence industry, notable for its high priority and the detailed attention that it received from Stalin and his colleagues. The research will examine the interests and motivations at work at higher and lower levels of the apparatus, and their interaction. Starting from existing theories of the political economy of dictatorship using principal-agent models and simple games, the methodology of the research will be to develop further theoretical insights using newly available historical evidence, largely qualitative in character, to substantiate or modify assumptions and test predictions.The scientist in charge is an established EU-based scholar while the applicant is a young Russian researcher of great promise. The host institutions, the University of Warwick and the New Economic School, are of comparable international stature and will provide the researcher with excellent research support and further training in economic analysis and quantitative methods.
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