The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Soviet Growth Record

  • Gur Ofer
Reference work entry


The Soviet Union initiated and implemented a heroic social experiment that included a rapid and fairly successful, albeit rather distorted, process of modernization and growth. It culminated more than 70 years later in a dead end that required a difficult and costly ‘transition’ in order to join the main road to modern economic growth and a market system. After presenting the record of Soviet economic growth and structural change, this article describes and analyses its particular strategy of extensive growth, its strengths and weaknesses, its relation to the Communist political regime, and the reasons for its non-sustainability and, hence, demise.


Autarky Autarky: internal and external Balanced growth Capital deepening Capital- led growth Central planning CES production function Cobb–Douglas function Command economy Defence Defence expenditure Demographic transition Diffusion of technology Elasticity of substitution Endogenous growth Extensive and intensive growth Fertility Haste Human capital Industrialization Formal and informal institutions Innovation Kosygin reforms (USSR) Marginal productivity of capital Market socialism Military sector Military research and development Patents Price index relativity Second World War Soft budget constraint Soviet growth record Switching development strategies Structural change Take-off Technical change Time preference Total factor productivity Transition 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gur Ofer
    • 1
  1. 1.