Material Balances

  • Gregory Grossman
Part of the The New Palgrave book series (NPA)


A material balance is a simple planning device developed (if not originated) early in Soviet planning for the purpose of equating prospective availabilities of a given good and its prospective requirements over the plan period (or at some target date in case of a stock). It occupies a central role in Soviet-type planning. The phrase, a literal rendering of the Russian material’nyi balans, is somewhat inexact and possibly confusing inasmuch as each of the two words has a variety of meanings in English. A more exact term would be ‘sources-and-uses account’ for a flow or ‘balance sheet’ for a stock. As such, material balances have counterparts in planning and management the world over.


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  1. Levine, H.S. 1959. The centralized planning of supply in Soviet industry. U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, Comparison of the United States and Soviet Economies I, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  2. Montias, J.M. 1959. Planning with material balances in Soviet-type economies. American Economic Review 49, December, 963–85.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990

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  • Gregory Grossman

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